Space lasers are no longer just a tool from futuristic movies. NASA uses space lasers to study plankton, plans to blast space junk, and now Amazon intends to use them for a satellite network. The company announced that as part of the Kuiper project, it has built the Optical Intersatellite Links (OISL), which will create an extensive network of high-speed laser cross-links. This technology could lead the way for faster data transmission even to the most remote places on Earth.

In October, Amazon launched two prototype satellites and a month later announced the success of the tests, in which a pair of satellites sent and received data at speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second.

To successfully use OISL, laser links had to maintain contact up to 1,616 miles away while contending with spacecraft traveling at 15,534 miles per hour.

Amazon claims that the network transmits data 30 percent faster than terrestrial fiber optic cables can. Plus, pretty much anyone, from a cruise ship passenger to a few-day hiker, should be able to get a connection if they can.

The Kuiper project was launched in 2019, but has really taken off in recent months. Following the completion of these successful tests, Amazon states that Project Kuiper is beginning production of satellites, with “Full deployment” will begin in the first half of 2024. The company anticipates that pilot projects for customers will be launched in the second half of the year. Notably, Amazon has signed an agreement with SpaceX to launch more Kuiper satellites faster.

Source: engadget.com