Elon Musk recently fired SpaceX Vice President of satellites Rajeev Badyal, as well as some of his team. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos quickly picked them up for his latest project, “Amazon’s satellite internet plan”. What’s funny to think about this whole idea is that the team leaves SpaceX to Amazon to make satellites only to call up SpaceX to launch their satellites into space. It’s just a thought, I know that Bezos is working on his own private space company!
Amazon’s internet program is being called, “Project Kuiper”. And Bezos plans to launch 3,236 small satellites into space to bring high-speed internet to anywhere in the world. With this idea of worldly internet, Amazon’s plan is in the middle of at least 5 other companies trying to launch next-generation satellite networks. Badyal was in charge of the “Starlink” division at SpaceX, which launched its first two test satellites last year. The FCC approved an addition 7,518 satellites.
Musk fired Badyal in June, confirming reports last year that Elon Musk SpaceX CEO had become quite frustrated with how the pace of the Starlink’s development was going. But according to FCC documents, Starlink will become operational when 800 satellites are deployed.
One thing to note is how Amazon handled the request when asked for comment on the new hires. “As a matter of company policy we don’t comment on personnel.” But they went on to say, “We’ve brought together an incredibly smart group of experts from across this industry to lead Project Kuiper”. To me the key word is, “Incredibly Smart”, If SpaceX thought they where great enough to hire, Then Amazon is going to want someone who is already doing some amazing work else where. And ignoring the reasons why he was let go.
FCC filings made by SpaceX in the last few months, show that part of the network will operate within very low Earth orbit. In a letter to the FCC last month, SpaceX said, “the satellites are now designed to be “completely demisable” when they return and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.” SpaceX said this means there is “zero” risk any pieces of Starlink will hurt anyone on the ground after the satellites are done being used. Again it sounds like Elon has a plan!
I know you’re thinking about it! That these satellites will require a lot of capital, and a good estimate can be around $5 billion dollars. But SpaceX is a private company and is quoted to have “immense funding sources available”. Which decoded means, he has no intention of taking SpaceX public. Elon Musk learned his lesson when he took Tesla Public and wishing he could take it back and go private.
With all this talk about Amazon and satellites, one thing to note is that Amazon has not yet filed an application with the FCC for the satellites.