Amazon seeks federal OK to launch thousands of small satellites

Amazon is seeking federal approval to launch thousands of small, low-Earth satellites, the e-commerce giant’s latest expansion into the rapidly burgeoning commercial space industry.

Known as “Project Kuiper,” the 3,236 satellites would “provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world,” a spokesman said.

“This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet. We look forward to partnering on this initiative with companies that share this common vision,” he wrote in an emailed response to FOX Business’ inquires.

Amazon’s plan was first reported by GeekWire.

The initiative is the latest move by the tech behemoth to challenge other industry giants and capitalize on the rapidly growing commercial space sector. The Seattle-based company already owns Blue Origin, which is trying to commercialize space travel for tourism.

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Arlington, Virginia-based OneWeb, for example, also hopes to launch a constellation of satellites to provide internet connectivity to underserved locations. It has received billions of dollars from companies like Coca Cola, including a $1.25 billion funding round in March led by an investment from SoftBank.

And alongside its efforts to commercialize space travel, Elon Musk-owned SpaceX is pursuing its own constellation of small satellites.


After a record $1.6 billion in outside investment in 2017, the total space industry is valued at over $18 billion.

Investors and others are concerned, however, that the bubble will soon burst as a slew of younger startups seek ways to commercialize their offerings – including weather monitoring and Earth imaging.