Amazon will open a 172,000-square-foot Project Kuiper internet satellite factory

Amazon said Thursday it will open a new plant in a Seattle suburb to fabricate satellites for Project Kuiper.

Disclosed in 2019, Project Kuiper, is Amazon’s plan to construct a network of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit to give high-speed broadband internet. Amazon scored a key achievement in 2020 when the Federal Communications Commission authorized the satellite internet system.

To meet its objective of getting 3,000 or more satellites into orbit, Amazon should build one to three satellites “every single day, maybe even a little more than that,” Amazon gadgets chief Dave Limp said in an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday.

“We have to build the manufacturing capabilities that looks more like consumer electronics or automobiles and less like the traditional space industry,” Limp said.

Despite the fact that Amazon has not said when the Kuiper launch campaign will start, FCC rules require the organization to deploy half of its planned satellites within six years – meaning around 1,600 in orbit by July 2026.

Amazon has said it intends to invest more than $10 billion into building Project Kuiper, and it as of now has a 219,000-square-foot research and development facility situated in Redmond, Washington. The Redmond site has created prototypes and helped with commercial satellite production, “but to deliver on our vision for the project, we need to operate on a much larger scale,” Amazon said.

The new 172,000-square-foot factory will be situated in the close by city of Kirkland, Washington. It’s expected to make in excess of 200 jobs in the Puget Sound region, the organization said.

The extra plant capacity will enable Amazon to enter the second phase of its manufacturing process, Limp said.

Since getting FCC approval, Amazon has sloped up work on its initial two prototype satellites, called KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2.

Amazon said in November 2021 that it expected to launch those prototypes with ABL Space on its RS1 rocket in late 2022. Yet, earlier this month, Amazon said United Launch Alliance would carry the satellites on their debut flight, deferring the launch to early next year.

Limp said Thursday that Amazon has begun integration and final assembly of its first two prototype satellites, adding they “should be done by the end of Q4.”