Amazon has revealed the design of its Project Kuiper end-user terminals, highlighting their low cost and compactness as a key feature.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who is currently building his Starlink constellation of satellites to beam down broadband, has said making the end-user terminals affordable for consumers was its biggest challenge. The Starlink terminal is 48cm (18.9-inches) in diameter whereas Amazon's prototype phased array terminal is just 30cm (12-inches) in diameter, which Amazon boasts "smaller and lighter than legacy antenna designs". The smaller size will help it reduce manufacturing costs.
"This simple fact inspired one of our key tenets for Kuiper: to invent a light, compact phased array antenna that would allow us to produce an affordable customer terminal. It's incredible to see such a small form factor delivering this type of speed and performance."
According to Amazon, its prototype is delivering speeds of up to 400 Mbps and promises speeds will only improve.
While SpaceX is launching batches of 60 Starlink satellites on its own partially reusable Falcon 9 rockets, Amazon plans to use multiple launch providers despite Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' spaceflight company Blue Origin.