Amazon Secures United Launch Alliance’s Proven Atlas V Rocket for Nine Project Kuiper Launches

Northrop Grumman’s GEM 63 rocket motors propel the launch of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V on Nov. 13, 2020. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

Atlas V provides important reliability and schedule assurance in launch agreement

Centennial, Colo., April 19, 2021 (ULA PR) – United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced today that Amazon has secured Atlas V for nine launches supporting deployment of its ambitious Project Kuiper initiative. Project Kuiper is an initiative that will increase global broadband access through a constellation of 3,236 advanced satellites in low earth orbit.  

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COVID-19 Impact on Smallsat Market Mitigated by Funding Availability, Government Support

PARIS, WASHINGTON DC, MONTREAL, YOKOHAMA (Euroconsult PR) — The latest update of “Prospects for the Small Satellite Market” was released this week by Euroconsult, forecasting further growth in the global supply and demand of government, commercial and academic satellites weighing up to 500 kg.

The market intelligence report, now in its 7th edition, builds upon Euroconsult’s previous iteration that accurately predicted more than 1,000 satellites would be launched during 2020, a record year despite COVID-19. The new release further reinforces the sentiment that the 2020s will be the decade of small satellites, anticipating the launch of close to 14,000 smallsats before 2030.

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Amazon Makes Breakthrough in Project Kuiper Development

Installation of a Project Kuiper antenna. (Credit: Amazon)

https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/innovation-at-amazon/amazon-marks-breakthrough-in-project-kuiper-development

Custom-built antenna architecture will allow Amazon to deliver a small, affordable customer terminal to connect unserved and underserved communities around the world.

SEATTLE (Amazon PR) — Months after receiving approval from the Federal Communications Commission, Project Kuiper has hit another key milestone on its path to delivering fast, affordable broadband through a constellation of 3,236 low Earth orbit satellites.

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Bye Bye, Neutrality Pai: FCC Chairman to Call it Quits on Jan. 20

Ajit Pai
  • Chairman who led the effort to kill net neutrality will depart with the Trump Administration and his massive coffee cup
  • FCC approved constellations of thousands of satellites by SpaceX and Amazon under his leadership
  • Official announcement from the FCC is below

WASHINGTON, November 30, 2020 (FCC PR) —Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he intends to leave the Federal Communications Commission on January 20, 2021. Chairman Pai issued the following statement:

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission, including as Chairman of the FCC over the past four years. I am grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity to lead the agency in 2017, to President Obama for appointing me as a Commissioner in 2012, and to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate for twice confirming me. To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America.

“I also deeply appreciate the chance to have worked alongside the FCC’s talented staff. They are the agency’s best assets, and they have performed heroically, especially during the pandemic. It’s also been an honor to work with my fellow Commissioners to execute a strong and broad agenda. Together, we’ve delivered for the American people over the past four years: closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety. And this FCC has not shied away from making tough choices. As a result, our nation’s communications networks are now faster, stronger, and more widely deployed than ever before.

“I am proud of how productive this Commission has been, from commencing five spectrum auctions and two rural broadband reverse auctions in four years, to opening 1,245 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for unlicensed use, to adopting more than 25 orders through our Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative, to aggressively protecting our communications networks from national security threats at home and abroad, to designating 988 as the three digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and much, much more. I’m also proud of the reforms we have instituted to make the agency more accountable to the American people. In particular, for the first time ever, we’ve made public drafts of the proposals and orders slated for a vote three weeks before the agency’s monthly meetings, making this the most transparent FCC in history.

“Last but not least, I want to thank my family for all they have done to enable me to serve at the agency. The public service of one generally results from the private sacrifice of many, and I’m grateful for their love and support.”

Bezos Cashing in $3.1 Billion in Amazon Stock

Jeff Bezos

CNBC reports that Jeff Bezos, who has been selling Amazon stock to fund his Blue Origin space company, has liquidated more of his holdings.

Bezos has accelerated his stock sales in the last year. In August, Bezos offloaded more than $3.1 billion of Amazon shares, after selling more than $4.1 billion worth of shares in February. The sales this week bring his total cash out in 2020 to more than $10.2 billion so far, which is a notable jump from 2019, when Bezos sold $2.8 billion worth of shares.

Bezos has previously said he sells about $1 billion of Amazon stock each year to fund his rocket start-up, Blue Origin. Additionally, the Amazon CEO in February launched a $10 billion Earth Fund to combat the effects of climate change, which will issue grants to scientists, activists and other organizations.

Bezos’ estimated net worth is $170 billion, making him the richest man in the world.

Constellationizing Space: Chinese Company Seeks Approval to Launch Nearly 13,000 Satellites

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Larry Press reports a Chinese company named GW has filed for spectrum allocation from the International Telecommunication Union for two broadband constellations called GW-A59 and GW-2 that would include 12,992 satellites.

The size of GW’s request indicates to Press that the company would compete globally with broadband constellations being built by SpaceX, OneWeb and Amazon. He wrote:

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Why UK is Backing its Leading Space Scientists to Clean up the Cosmos

Alok Sharma

by Alok Sharma
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

On 2 July 2018, a £100 million satellite called CryoSat-2 was completing its daily rounds of monitoring ice caps back on Earth from an orbital vantage point 700 kilometres above us, when mission controllers spotted a chunk of space debris hurtling towards it at 17,000 miles per hour.

To avert a potentially catastrophic collision, engineers fired up CryoSat’s thrusters and moved it out of harm’s way. This near miss was not the first, and it will not be the last.

An estimated 20,000 pieces of space debris, better known as ‘space junk’; are whizzing around the Earth as you read this. This includes zombie satellites and whole junkyards’ worth of whirling fragments left over from space missions.

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OneWeb Gets FCC Approval for Additional 1,280 Satellites

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Satellite broadband provider OneWeb received FCC approval this week to launch an additional 1,280 satellites, increasing the size of the company’s constellation to 2,000 spacecraft.

The additional satellites will provide services in the V-band and operate at an altitude of 8,500 km (5,282 miles).

“After review of the record, we conclude that granting OneWeb access to the U.S. market for its proposed V-band satellite system would increase competition for the broadband services proposed to be provided by such systems to American consumers, particularly in underserved areas, offer a greater likelihood that such a large system is able to fulfill its ambitions and deploy the proposed services, and thereby serve the public interest, subject to the requirements and conditions specified herein,” the FCC said.

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FCC Approves Amazon’s $10 Billion Kuiper Satellite Constellation

Jeff Bezos

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Amazon’s plan to launch its Kuiper constellation of 3,236 satellites to provide global broadband coverage.

Jeff Bezos’ company plans to invest $10 billion in the constellation, which will compete with OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink system to deliver high-speed, low-latency broadband services via satellite.

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Amazon, SpaceX Among Companies Circling Bankrupt OneWeb

Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are among companies doing due diligence on OneWeb, the satellite broadband company that declared bankruptcy in March.

Other companies interested include Eutelsat, Cerberus and two Chinese companies, according to Space Intel Report.

OneWeb has 74 satellites in orbit, which is only 11.4 percent of an initial planned constellation of 648 satellites designed to provide broadband services across the globe.

SpaceX is already deploying its rival Starlink constellation with satellites the company says are more capable than the ones launched by OneWeb. Bezos’ Amazon is planning its own satellite constellation.

It’s not clear whether potential buyers want to purchase the entire company or the OneWeb’s bandwidth allocation, which could be worth as much as $1 billion.

OneWeb filed bankruptcy in March, blaming the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for drying up financing for the multi-billion satellite constellation.

Bezos Sells More Amazon Shares

Jeff Bezos

CNBC reports that Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos has sold more shares in his Amazon company.

The series of sales began on Jan. 31, the filings show, and continued through Feb. 3, and were executed under a pre-arranged trading plan. In total, Bezos sold 905,456 shares in the company for $1.84 billion, according to the filings.

Bezos has said he will sell Amazon shares to help fund his Blue Origin space company. He made similar sales of stock in 2017 and 2019.

The sales became publicly known as Amazon’s market capitalization topped $1 trillion.

Jeff Bezos to Receive 2019 IAF Excellence in Industry Award for Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos

PARIS (IAF PR) — On 22 October 2019, Blue Origin Founder, Jeff Bezos, is to receive the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Excellence in Industry Award at the 70th International Astronautical Congress – IAC 2019, to take place from 21 – 25 October in Washington D.C., United States.

The IAF Excellence in Industry Award recognizes an industry organization for outstanding and sustainable advancements in space, showing the merits of leadership in developing and executing landmark commercial and civil space missions and for being a role model for cooperation in the global space industry workforce.

For its first awardee, the IAF has selected Blue Origin for its significant and sustainable contribution towards enabling an enduring human presence in space through its New Shepard launch system and BE-3 liquid hydrogen rocket engine.

Designed for human spaceflight and operational reusability, New Shepard has made 11 historic flights to space. These missions have long-term benefits destined to ignite a new era of commercial human access to space at a dramatically lower cost and with increased reliability.

The IAF Excellence in Industry Award Ceremony will take place on Tuesday 22 October 2019 from 08:00 – 08:25 in the Grand Ballroom of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Jean-Yves Le Gall, IAF President, Pascale Ehrenfreund, IAF Incoming President, and Bruce Chesley, IAF Vice President for Industry Relations, will announce Blue Origin as the 2019 Recipient. The Ceremony will be followed by a fireside chat interview with Jeff Bezos.

Bezos Sells $1.8 Billion in Amazon Shares

Jeff Bezos

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos sold $1.8 billion worth of shares in the company in July, according to papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He netted about $1.4 billion after taxes from the sale of more than 900,000 shares.

Bezos, who is worth an estimated $116 billion, has said that he has been selling about $1 billion in Amazon stock annually to fund his Blue Origin space company.

Bezos also gave 19.7 millions shares worth nearly $36.8 billion to his former wife, MacKenzie, to settle their divorce.