Amazon asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Monday to approve the launch and operation of two prototypes of internet satellites by the end of 2022 as part of the tech giant’s goal of building a space-based satellite network.
The technology giant has committed at least $10 billion through its Project Kuiper program to build 3,236 satellites, and the test and demonstration launch is a critical step toward Amazon’s goal of providing high-capacity, low-latency broadband communications services to countless unused and underserved consumers and businesses.
In 2021, the FCC approved Project Kuiper’s plan to put satellites in low-Earth orbit to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink network.
Amazon recently accused billionaire SpaceX CEO Elon Musk of ignoring many of the government-imposed rules, including a number of requirements from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Musk are bitter rivals in the private space business, with Bezos’ Blue Origin questioning the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s move to award Musk’s SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract for a lunar landing craft.
SpaceX has also claimed in its own complaint filed with the FCC that Amazon is deliberately delaying SpaceX’s plans in the private space business.