Amazon has announced it is building a $120 million facility for its Project Kuiper satellites in the US, as it aims to catch up with its arch rival SpaceX Starlink run by Elon Musk.
The company said that Project Kuiper is moving one step closer to deploying its full satellite constellation, with construction underway on a new satellite-processing facility at Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center.
The space will be used to prepare and integrate Kuiper satellites with rockets from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA) ahead of launches.
“We have an ambitious plan to begin Project Kuiper’s full-scale production launches and early customer pilots next year, and this new facility will play a critical role in helping us deliver on that timeline,” said Steve Metayer, vice president of Kuiper Production Operations.
Amazon is preparing to launch two prototype satellites in the coming months to help test its network and subsystems, and expects to begin production launches and early enterprise customer pilots in 2024.
Project Kuiper will begin satellite production at a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Kirkland, Washington, by the end of this year. Amazon said it is investing $120 million in new construction and high-value equipment for the facility, and creating up to 50 new jobs on the Space Coast.
“We are proud to continue our investment in Florida and to join the historic Space Coast community as we invest in people and facilities to support Project Kuiper, Amazon’s satellite broadband network,” said Brian Huseman, vice president of public policy and community engagement at Amazon.
Project Kuiper infrastructure includes a constellation of over 3,200 satellites in low Earth orbit, affordable, high-performance customer terminals, and ground networking enabled by Amazon Web Services.