A race among several major players is underway to build a next-generation broadband network in space, as companies lay out plans to use a so-called constellation of hundreds or even thousands of small satellites. Elon Musk's SpaceX launched two test satellites for its "Starlink" network last year, the first step toward its goal of a constellation of 4,425 satellites. Additionally, last month Softbank-backed OneWeb launched the first six satellites of its network, which plans to begin with a constellation of 650 interconnected satellites.
Boeing and Canadian operator Telesat have also revealed plans for high speed internet constellations.
OneWeb's satellites cost about $1 million each to manufacture and the start-up plans to launch all of 650 over the next two years, with rockets lifting 30 at a time.
The SpaceX Starlink satellites were some of the smallest proposed, weighing just under 900 pounds each.
While the federal filings do not reveal the cost or timeline of Amazon's project, industry analysts estimate Project Kuiper will take about a decade to get off the ground. This road is littered with companies that tried, and failed, to pull off a coup in space-based internet.
Back in 2015, Facebook decided against spending up to $1 billion on a satellite that would provide Internet to under-served regions in Africa and other continents. Instead, Facebook opted to lease broadband onboard Spacecom's AMOS-6 satellite, which was destroyed when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded during fueling before launch in 2016.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates helped fund Teledesic, in an effort to build low Earth satellites to provide Internet service. Yet Teledesic closed in 2002, after racking up more than $9 billion costs.
But the possible pay off for Amazon and others could be immense. Beyond the benefit it would provide to Amazon's own business, satellite networks with internet speeds comparable to Earth-bound fiber optic networks would be very lucrative.
– CNBC's Lauren Feiner contributed to this report.