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Amazon investing $120M in Space Coast internet satellite facility

 Amazon's Project Kuiper facility at Kennedy Space Center
Project Kuiper
A rendering of Amazon's Project Kuiper facility at Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center

Amazon is investing $120 million to build a satellite processing facility at the Kennedy Space Center. The new facility will support the company's space-based internet satellites for launch.

Project Kuiper aims to place 3,200 satellites into orbit, blanketing the globe with broadband internet.

The new facility at Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center is critical to that plan, responsible for making final preparations for the satellites before launching into orbit. After manufacturing the satellites in Kirkland, Washington, the Space Coast facility will receive those satellites and prep them for launch, initially on heavy-lift rockets like Blue Origin's New Glenn and ULA's Vulcan Centaur.

The $120 million investment by Amazon includes the construction of a 100,000 square foot processing facility, with the promise of around 50 new jobs.

“We are proud to continue our investment in Florida and to join the historic Space Coast community as we invest in people and facilities to support Project Kuiper, Amazon's satellite broadband network,” said Brian Huseman, vice president of public policy and community engagement at Amazon.

The facility includes a 100-foot tall high bay clean room to make room for packing the satellites in the nosecone of commercial rockets. It's located at Space Florida's Launch and Landing Facility, which welcomed back returning Space Shuttle missions until the program's retirement in 2011.

Space Florida, the state agency that develops private space partnerships, manages the landing facility and helped secure the deal, until now called "Project Comet," which matched investment to boost infrastructure development at the spaceport.

"Since the early days of rocket launches and payload processing, decades of infrastructure and capital investment has been made, transforming Florida into a global center for the aerospace economy," said Frank DiBello, Space Florida president and CEO.

Amazon says it hopes to launch prototypes of the satellites in the coming months, and begin offering service next year.

Cape-based neighbor SpaceX is also building its own network of internet satellites, called Starlink, launching in part from the Space Coast.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."
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