Amazon launches test satellites for its planned internet service to compete with SpaceX

Category : Technology/Innovations

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. blast off / blæst ɔf / (phrasal v.) – (of a missile or rocket) to leave the ground and begin its journey to space

    The rocket blasted off on schedule.

  2. kick off / kɪk ɔf / (phrasal v.) – to start something

    The organization is kicking off a series of talks about mental health.

  3. eventual / ɪˈvɛn tʃu əl / (adj.) – happening at a later time

    Despite facing many obstacles, the team believed in the project’s eventual success.

  4. head start / hɛd stɑrt / (n.) – an advantage that someone/something has in a race, competition, or situation, usually by starting doing something earlier than others

    Jane gained a head start by studying weeks before the exam.

  5. operational / ˌɒp əˈreɪ ʃə nl / (adj.) – (of a machine, device, or system) able to work as intended without any problems

    The company’s website had some issues earlier, but now it’s fully operational.


Read the text below.

Amazon launched the first test satellites for its planned internet service on October 6 as a rival to SpaceX’s broadband network.

United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket blasted off with the pair of test satellites, kicking off a program that aims to improve global internet coverage with an eventual 3,236 satellites around Earth.

Amazon plans to begin offering service by the end of next year.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has a huge head start over Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos, who has his own rocket company, Blue Origin.

SpaceX flew its first test Starlink satellites in 2018 and the first operational satellites in 2019. It has since launched more than 5,000 Starlinks from Florida and California, using its own Falcon rockets.

Europe’s Eutelsat OneWeb is also launching internet satellites, with around 600 in orbit.

Amazon originally agreed to put the satellites on the debut launch of ULA’s Vulcan rocket. But with the Vulcan grounded by problems until at least the end of this year, Amazon switched to the long-established Atlas V.

When licensing the program, the Federal Communications Commission stipulated that at least half of the planned satellites will be operating by 2026 and all of them by 2029.

Amazon has reserved 77 launches from ULA, Blue Origin, and Europe’s Arianespace to get everything up.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Companies like SpaceX and Amazon are launching projects to improve global internet coverage. Do you think it is necessary to have a strong internet connection in all areas around the world? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Would you be willing to go to an area without an internet connection? Why or why not? Do you think not having an internet connection can also be an advantage? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Amazon launched its first test satellites to provide internet service as a rival to SpaceX’s broadband network. Do you think that this competition can help with the development of satellite and internet technology? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Would you like to use foreign internet services, like SpaceX or Amazon? Or would you prefer a local internet service provider? Why? Discuss.
Category : Technology/Innovations