WA: Amazon to Move Project Kuiper Team to New R&D HQ, to Hire 167

23 Dec, 2019

Amazon's Project Kuiper team will move to a permanent research and development headquarters in 2020 in Redmond, Wash. The company says it's completing renovation of two leased buildings that will provide Project Kuiper with 219,000 square feet for R&D labs, prototype manufacturing facilities, and office and design space. The company has 167 job openings for the new facility posted on its website.
Project Kuiper is a constellation of 3,236 satellites Amazon plans to deploy in low Earth orbit for low-latency, high-speed broadband. Amazon joins SpaceX, OneWeb and Telesat in planning large constellations of internet-beaming satellites.
Amazon hasn’t said when it plans to launch its first Kuiper satellites, but will need to launch at least one of its satellites by early 2026 in order to comply with the seven-year countdown that started in March when it filed with the International Telecommunication Union for Ka-band spectrum essential for the constellation. Amazon told the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in July that it plans to launch Project Kuiper satellites in five waves, with satellites designed to operate for seven years.
“As Amazon’s Project Kuiper team continues to make great strides, the team has once again outgrown its current facility,” Amazon said. “With that in mind, we are leasing and renovating a long term home for the Kuiper team…which will become Kuiper’s primary headquarters for research & development, as well as its primary prototype manufacturing and qualification facility.”
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, also owns launch company Blue Origin, whose New Glenn orbital rocket is slated for a first launch in 2021. Amazon’s Web Services business also has a ground station business that communicates with satellites as they circle the planet.  
Spectrum regulators at the ITU set new rules for low Earth orbit megaconstellations last month, requiring operators, after that seven-year window, to launch 10% of their constellation in two years, 50% in five years and 100% in seven years in order to keep their full spectrum rights.