Amazon says it’ll open a 172,000-square-foot production facility in Kirkland, Wash., to manufacture thousands of satellites for its Project Kuiper broadband internet constellation.
The factory will eventually turn out one to three satellites per day, Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president for devices and services, said today during a Washington Post online chat. “Maybe even a little more than that,” he added.
Eventually, Amazon plans to have 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit, and half of those spacecraft have to be launched by 2026 to satisfy the Federal Communications Commission’s license requirements.
In order to meet that schedule, “we have to build the manufacturing capabilities that look more like consumer electronics or automobiles and less like the traditional space industry,” Limp explained.
The new facility marks an expansion from Project Kuiper’s 219,000-square-foot research-and-development facility in Redmond, Wash. Limp said the “first phase” of satellite production is already underway in Redmond.
“We’ve started integration and final assembly of our first two prototype satellites,” he said. “Those should be done by the end of Q4, and we’re in test right now.”