Amazon targets 2024 for launch of Starlink rival plans to launch its first Internet satellites to space in the first half of 2024 and offer initial commercial tests shortly after, the company said Tuesday, as it prepares to vie with SpaceX’s Starlink and others to provide broadband Internet globally.

Amazon’s satellite Internet unit, Project Kuiper, will begin mass-producing the satellites later this year, the company said. Those will be the first of over 3 000 satellites the technology giant plans to launch in low-Earth orbit in the next few years.

“We’ll definitely be beta testing with commercial customers in 2024,” Dave Limp, head of Amazon devices, said at a conference in Washington.

The “standard customer terminal”, 11-inch square antennas for the Kuiper network, will cost Amazon less than $400 each to produce and provide Internet speeds of 400Mbit/s for customers, the company said.

Read: Why Starlink could be a game changer in Africa

A smaller, square-shaped mobile antenna, measuring seven inches wide and weighing 450g, will be Amazon’s “most affordable” terminal for the network, though the company did not disclose the price.  — Joey Roulette, (c) 2023 Reuters

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