Atlas V rocket sends Amazon’s first satellites into space

Amazon’s first satellites were launched today on a mission aimed at testing out the hardware and software for the Seattle company’s worldwide Project Kuiper broadband internet constellation.

Two prototype satellites — known as KuiperSat 1 and 2 — rode a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida into space at 2:06 p.m. ET (11:06 a.m. PT).

United Launch Alliance provided updates on what it called the Protoflight mission via its X / Twitter account. In a post-launch statement, ULA declared the mission to be successful and said that the Atlas V “precisely” delivered the satellites to orbit.

The satellites were sent into 311-mile-high (500-kilometer-high) orbits with a 30-degree inclination. In a status update, Amazon said Project Kuiper’s mission operations center in Redmond, Wash., confirmed first contact with both satellites within an hour after launch.

“Five plus years in the making. So much care, persistence, boldness and beauty,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said in a posting to Instagram and Threads. “What an amazing endeavor. … Big milestone and much more to come!”

Project Kuiper, an ambitious program that was publicly unveiled in 2019, aims to provide broadband internet access — and satellite-based access to Amazon Web Services — to millions of people who are currently underserved. Amazon plans to use the prototypes — which were built at Project Kuiper’s HQ in Redmond — to test the hardware on the spacecraft, as well as ground operations and customer terminals.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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