Amazon’s ‘Project Kuiper’ internet satellite system has completed successful tests of an optical mesh network in low-Earth orbit.

After demonstrating 100 Gbps optical links between its prototype satellites, Project Kuiper will include laser links on every satellite in its constellation to form a mesh network in space, the company said in a statement.

Kuiper is planning a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit and the US Federal Communications Commission requires Amazon to deploy at least half of that figure by 2026. Since the successful launch and deployment of two prototype satellites in October, Project Kuiper has been conducting extensive testing of its end-to-end communications payload and network.

Last month, the company confirmed it had validated all priority systems and subsystems within 30 days of launch. These tests validated the final component of Project Kuiper’s advanced communications architecture, and the results ensure that optical inter-satellite links (OISLs) will be operational on our first production satellites, slated for launch in the first half of 2024, Amazon said.

“With optical inter-satellite links across our satellite constellation, Project Kuiper will effectively operate as a mesh network in space,” said Rajeev Badyal, Project Kuiper’s vice president of technology.

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“We’re excited to be able to support these next-generation OISL capabilities on every Kuiper satellite from day one,” he added.

The company is equipping every Project Kuiper satellite with multiple optical terminals to connect many satellites at a time, establishing high-speed laser cross-links that form a secure, resilient mesh network in space. These capabilities increase throughout and reduce latency across our constellation, and provide more flexibility to connect Kuiper customers across land, sea, air, and space, according to Amazon.

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Amazon’s OISL capabilities will allow Project Kuiper to move and land data anywhere via its mesh network in space, bringing secure, resilient connectivity to a wide range of enterprise and public sector customers.

“Amazon’s optical mesh network will provide multiple paths to route data through space, creating resiliency and redundancy for customers who need to securely transport information around the world,” said Ricky Freeman, vice president of Kuiper Government Solutions.

Project Kuiper is beginning satellite manufacturing ahead of a full-scale deployment that starts in the first half of 2024 and expects to have enough satellites deployed to begin early customer pilots in the second half of 2024.