According to the corporation and state officials, Amazon is investing $120 million in a processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for its thousands of future Kuiper broadband satellites.
The 100,000 square foot structure is a portion of the roughly $10 billion that Amazon has committed to spend on its Kuiper project, a network of 3,200 low Earth orbiting satellites intended to deliver broadband internet to every country in the world.
The Kuiper internet network, which will primarily compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink, is anticipated to enhance Amazon’s web services juggernaut.
After being created at the main Kuiper project plant in Redmond, Washington, the Florida facility will house 50 employees and serve as the penultimate stop before Amazon’s Kuiper satellites go into space. The satellites will be able to be installed into the rocket payload fairings—the protective covering that encircles the satellites that are mounted atop the rocket—in a room that is ten stories tall.
The first batch of satellites will be sent to the facility for processing in the first half of 2025, according to Steve Metayer, Amazon’s vice president of Kuiper Production Operations, who said the company started building the site in January and intends to finish it by late 2024.
To meet U.S. regulatory requirements, Amazon plans to launch its first mass-produced satellites in early 2024, starting a race to put half of the network into orbit by 2026.
The Boeing-Lockheed joint venture United Launch Alliance and Jeff Bezos’ space startup Blue Origin have given the corporation a combined 77 heavy-lift rocket launch contracts that could be worth billions of dollars.
By the end of the year, Amazon intends to send its first few prototype satellites into orbit. In 2024, it will launch its first satellites made in large quantities.
According to the corporation, testing of the service with business and government clients will start that year.
Amazon is qualified to receive financing under a state grant for transportation-related initiatives, according to Anna Farrar, a spokesperson for Space Florida, a state-funded organization to entice space firms to Florida, but “has not received any funding to date.”