Amazon building $120 million satellite processing hub

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Amazon is in the process of building a $120 million processing facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The facility is intended to manage the thousands of planned Kuiper internet satellites and the building is part of the $10 billion that Amazon has said that it plans to invest in its Kuiper project, a planned network of 3,200 low Earth-orbiting satellites designed to beam broadband internet globally.

The Kuiper internet network, which will largely compete with Starlink from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is expected to complement Amazon’s web services powerhouse.

The facility will employ 50 staff and be a last stop for Amazon's Kuiper satellites before they go to space, after being manufactured at the Kuiper project's primary plant in Redmond, Washington. The building will include a ten-story-tall room that will allow the satellites to be fitted into rocket payload farings before launch.

Amazon said that it plans to complete the facility by late 2024, with a target to ship the first batch of satellites to the facility for processing in the first half of 2025, according to Steve Metayer, Amazon's vice president of Kuiper Production Operations.

Amazon aims to launch its first mass-produced satellites by early 2024 and to deploy half of the network into orbit by 2026.

The company has already signed 77 heavy-lift rocket launch contracts, primarily with the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture United Launch Alliance and Jeff Bezos's space company Blue Origin.

Amazon plans to launch its first few prototype satellites to space by the end of the year, while testing the service with customers will begin next year.