Amazon delays Project Kuiper satellite launches

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Amazon is talking up a new facility that will help it speed up the manufacture and ultimately launch of LEO satellites, but it has also quietly tweaked its timelines, meaning Project Kuiper will get off the ground a little later than planned.

The Internet giant formally opened a new facility in Kirkland, Washington, this week, which will serve as the manufacturing hub for the satellites that will form Project Kuiper's LEO constellation. Once it is fully up and running, the factory will be able to churn out as many as five satellites per day, which will be crucial for Amazon's bid to catch up with its rivals in the LEO market.

But the first satellite launches will not come until the fourth quarter of this year, with the first customers getting connected in 2025, Amazon said. Previously it was aiming to get satellites into orbit in the first half of this year and to begin testing with selected customers before year-end.

It's not a massive delay. But even weeks count as the LEO market hots up. Major rivals Starlink, owned by Elon Musk's SpaceX, and OneWeb are already serving customers; the former has more than 6,000 satellites in orbit, and launched 23 new Starlink satellites as recently as Thursday.

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