Amazon is moving forward with a plan to launch thousands of satellites into space in order to bring reliable broadband internet service to rural areas across the globe.

Amazon subsidiary Kuiper Systems has applied with the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch more than 3,000 satellites into space under the name Project Kuiper.

The application states, “The effective implementation of global broadband services requires more than the design, construction, and deployment of the technologically advanced satellite system, low-cost customer terminals, and gateways. It also requires worldwide terrestrial network infrastructure and customer operations capabilities.”

“The Kuiper system will help bridge gaps in coverage by complementing the efforts of terrestrial fixed and mobile careers and reaching some of the most remote and hard-to-reach areas - where it is often geographically difficult of cost-prohibitive for terrestrial service providers to operate today.”

Kuiper Systems Chief Executive Officer is Rajeev Badyal — SpaceX’s former vice president. Interestingly enough, SpaceX launched 60 satellites into orbit on 23 May 2019. Their satellites are also intended to provide internet service worldwide.

The name of SpaceX’s project is Starlink — and they are cleared to launch a total of 11,943 satellites. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk says the plan is to launch 60 satellites at a time. He predicts they will achieve global coverage after 24 launches.

It would appear that these companies are involved in a satellite space race.

Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said the internet satellites are a long-term project. For engineers, the project presents an incredible opportunity

While astronomers are worried that more satellites in space may begin obscuring some of the star systems they study, educators that do not have their eyes on the skies are thinking an interconnected world means more opportunities for education and training.

With more people connected to the internet globally, the chance for online education and training will naturally follow. Those in rural areas who cannot afford to move to a city for university could benefit from earning tertiary degrees through online means. Low-cost communication technologies and low-cost internet service provided by satellites could transform multiple careers around the world.

 

Works Cited

Brodkin, Jon. “Amazon Plans Nationwide Broadband-with Both Home and Mobile Service.” Ars Technica, 8 July 2019, arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/07/amazon-follows-spacex-into-satellite-broadband-asks-fcc-to-ok-launch-plan/.

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