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Orbital Breakthrough: Amazon's Kuiper's Laser Tech Success

  • Amazon's Project Kuiper succeeds with OISL, enhancing satellite internet speed.
  • OISL uses infrared lasers with precise beams for communication up to 1,616 miles in orbit.
  • Initial production satellites with OISLs to launch in H1 2024; customer pilots planned in H2 2024.

Amazon’s Project Kuiper has successfully tested a technology called "optical inter-satellite links" (OISL) that will enhance the speed and reduce delays for its satellite internet service. OISL uses infrared lasers to transmit data between spacecraft in orbit.

Amazon faced several obstacles to make this advanced OISL possible. The lasers needed a precise and narrow beam to establish communication up to 1,616 miles away, even with spacecraft moving at speeds of up to 15,534 miles per hour and the complexities of orbital dynamics. 

The company stated that the tests have confirmed the functionality of the final part of Project Kuiper's advanced communications structure. This guarantees that the OISLs will be operational on the initial production satellites scheduled to be launched in the first half of 2024. 

According to Rajeev Badyal, the VP of technology at Kuiper, Project Kuiper will function as a mesh network in space with optical inter-satellite links. The system is designed in-house to prioritize speed, cost, and reliability, and it has been flawless since its inception. 

Future projections

Amazon plans to start customer pilots in the latter half of 2024 once enough satellites are deployed. The complete constellation will consist of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit and must be launched by July 2029 as per the company's license with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Edited by Shruti Thapa