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Amazon to Deorbit Prototype Kuiper Satellites 

By Rachel Jewett | May 24, 2024
      Amazon's Project Kuiper prototype satellites in orbit. Photo: Amazon

      Amazon’s Project Kuiper prototype satellites in orbit. Photo: Amazon

      Amazon is beginning the process to actively deorbit its two Project Kuiper prototype satellites, nearly eight months after the satellites were launched. In an update on May 23, Amazon said it is beginning the final stage of the prototype mission, demonstrating active deorbit. 

      “The last milestone in our Protoflight mission is deorbiting Kuipersat-1 and Kuipersat-2. As part of our orbital debris mitigation plan and broader commitment to space safety and sustainability, we plan to actively deorbit all satellites within one year of their mission ending, and this final phase in the Protoflight mission will allow us to collect data on the deorbit process as we gradually lower satellites from their initial target altitude,” the company said. 

      Amazon said it will take the next several months to execute controlled manuevers with the propulsion systems onboard in order to deorbit. Amazon said the satellites had a “100% success rate across key mission objectives.” 

      United Launch Alliance launched the satellites in October and since then they have demonstrated two-way video calls and data transfers via the onboard optical inter-satellite links

      Amazon is ramping up production for Project Kuiper ahead of full-scale deployment. Satellite manufacturing is underway at a recently opened full-rate factory in Kirkland, Washington.