The first two prototype satellites from Project Kuiper, the internet-from-space venture from the e-commerce giant, are scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2022, Amazon announced on Monday. That will formally kick off its competition with SpaceX, the space company owned by Elon Musk, and OneWeb, among other rivals, for beaming high-speed internet connections to customers from low Earth orbit. It will also be a crucial test of the satellites’ design before the company launches thousands more devices into orbit.
Amazon first announced its goal of deploying a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit in 2019. This was the second pursuit in space by Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and former chief executive who also owns Blue Origin, the rocket company. A handful of other firms are also racing to offer high-speed internet to governments, other companies and consumers whose access is hampered by the digital divide in remote locations.
Like SpaceX, Amazon plans to spend $10 billion on the project, which sits within its devices unit. But the company has been slower to start than SpaceX, whose Falcon 9 rockets have lofted nearly 2,000 internet-beaming satellites into orbit for its own venture, Starlink. Thousands of customers are testing the SpaceX service for $99 a month with $499 antenna kits.
Video from inside the New Shepard Mission NS-18: Apogee »
Update » Immediately after his trip to space, Shatner tells Jeff Bezos the following »
What you have given me is the most profound experience, I can imagine. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it.
You can see it for yourself in the video below. Start at about 2:44:00 to see the crew exit the capsule and greeted Bezos.
William Shatner will join Dr. Chris Boshuizen, Audrey Powers, and Glen de Vries.
Live launch coverage begins at 12:30 UTC.
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- Actor William Shatner counted down Wednesday to his wildest role yet: riding a rocket into space, courtesy of “Star Trek” fan Jeff Bezos. » CityNews Toronto
William Shatner is about to become the oldest person ever to be launched into space. The 90-year-old Canadian actor is slated to be part of the second crew to take the space flight in the New Shepard capsule, possibly in October.
It is not known if Shatner will he be wearing his Capt. Kirk kit?