Welcome to the age of the satellite megaconstellation. Within the next few years, vast networks, containing hundreds or even thousands of spacecraft, could reshape the future of Earth’s orbital environment.
Much of the attention on these strings of satellites has been placed on the prolific launches of SpaceX and OneWeb, but the focus is now turning to Amazon. Last month, the Federal Communications Commission approved a request by the online marketplace to launch its Project Kuiper constellation, which, like SpaceX’s Starlink and OneWeb’s network, aims to extend high-speed internet service to customers around the world, including to remote or underserved communities hobbled by a persistent digital divide.
The Kuiper constellation would consist of 3,236 satellites. That’s more than the approximately 2,600 active