The company is joining firms like SpaceX and OneWeb, which all want to send huge numbers of satellites into low Earth orbit to connect underserved areas with broadband.
How it works: The plan, dubbed Project Kuiper, will send satellites up into orbit at three different altitudes. There will be 784 satellites at 367 miles (591 kilometers), 1,296 satellites at 379 miles, and 1,156 satellites at 391 miles, according to a filing with the International Telecommunications Union, which oversees global telecom satellite operations. Combined, these satellites will provide internet access to more than 95% of the global population, according to Amazon.
More details: A spokesperson said, “This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet.” It’s not yet clear if Amazon will manufacture or buy its satellites, or when it will start to provide satellite broadband services. Before it does, it will need to obtain approval from the US Federal Communications Commission, and it will need to show how it plans to decommission its satellites and manage its role in the growing problem of space debris.
Sign up here for our daily newsletter The Download to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech.
The Biggest Questions: Are we alone in the universe?
Scientists are training machine-learning models and designing instruments to hunt for life on other worlds.
Why the first-ever space junk fine is such a big deal
A fine handed to the US TV firm Dish by the FCC could help kick-start the market for solutions to space debris.
This startup wants to find out if humans can have babies in space
SpaceBorn United wants to conduct an IVF experiment in Earth’s orbit to pave the way for long-term space missions.
The Biggest Questions: Why is the universe so complex and beautiful?
For some reason the universe is full of stars, galaxies, and life. But it didn’t have to be this way.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.