October 16, 2021

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Amazon Acquires a Team of Satellite Internet Experts from Facebook, Inc. as it continues to Vie with SpaceX in the Nascent Satellite Internet Market

Amazon Acquires a Team of Satellite Internet Experts from Facebook, Inc. as it continues to Vie with SpaceX in the Nascent Satellite Internet Market

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Tech giant Amazon’s space ambitions have reached a new height as it has recently announced that it has acquired numerous satellite internet experts from rival tech giant Facebook Inc. While the talent acquisition was concluded in April, it was only recently announced and confirmed by both the companies. Under the deal, more than a dozen of Facebook’s wireless internet experts will move to Amazon’s Project Kuiper satellite broadband network.

Amazon has decided to spend more than USD 10 billion to get Project Kuiper off the ground to accelerate the development of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites that are capable of delivering high-speed broadband internet across the globe. The wireless internet experts have joined Amazon as the tech giant aims to launch thousands of satellites and roll out broadband services in the United States and abroad. The team of experts include physicists, optical engineers, software engineers, prototyping engineers, and mechanical engineers. Project Kuiper is on the track of progress and last year Kuiper Systems LLC, which is a subsidiary set up by Amazon to develop the project, developed a novel satellite antenna leveraging phased array design. Amazon received an approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch a network of 3,236 low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The company plans to use the internet satellites to improve connectivity in areas of the world that are underserved or unserved by terrestrial networks. Amazon plans to deploy its satellite constellation just a few hundred miles above the Earth and this increased proximity will provide lower latency for users and potentially reduce launch costs as the satellites will only need to be carried to a short distance.

Facebook has been using its own equipment to deliver broadband through satellites to remote areas but has been facing lot of hurdles in successfully launching it. This deal will mark an end of Facebook’s extensive years of experimentation. The financial terms of deal – including equipment, facilities, and IP – were not disclosed. Amazon plans to launch its constellation by mid-2026 and rest by 2029. Amazon faces a tough competition from SpaceX Corp. which has already deployed more than 1,500 satellites in space as a component of its Starlink constellation