Tuesday, April 9

Amazon reserves 83 launches to put Kuiper satellites into orbit, its response to Starlink


Amazon steps on the accelerator of its Kuiper project, the next competitor of Starlink and OneWeb. The company founded by Jeff Bezos has announced this Tuesday multiple agreements with private space transportation companies. Their objective is to put into orbit most of the 3,236 satellites of a constellation that seeks to offer low-latency, high-speed internet throughout the world.

The new launch schedule, which will include a total of 83 missions, will take place over a five-year period. While Amazon did not provide details of the cost of the launches, it said the move is “the largest commercial acquisition of launch vehicles in history.” However, it revealed the names of the three new providers based in the United States and Europe that are joining the project.

ULA, Arianespace and Blue Origin

United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, will be responsible for conducting 38 launches with his Vulcan Centaur rocket from the Space Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Europe’s Arianespace, known for the successful launch of the James Webb Telescope, will 18 launches with the Ariane rocket from the Space Center located in French Guiana.

Project Kuiper Launches Ula Blue Origin Arianespace 2

Blue Origin, a company founded by Jeff Bezos but operating independently of Amazon, will make 12 launches with the New Glenn rocket, also from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. In addition, the contract leaves the door open to carry out 15 additional satellite launches with this company in the future.

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The aforementioned launch agreements are in addition to two previous ones. In April 2021, Amazon contracted for nine launches aboard ULA’s Atlas V rocket. Shortly after, in November of the same year, it reached an agreement with ABL Space Systems for two launches, that of the KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 prototypes, which will lay the foundations for the satellite constellation.

What is Starlink, how does it work and how much does it cost?

As we mentioned above, Amazon has not provided details of the investment or the launch schedule. However, to get an idea of ​​the cost of the project, let us remember that after receiving authorization from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to develop the satellite constellation, the company announced that it would allocate 1$0 billion to Kuiper.

There are currently more than 750 people working on the project, and Amazon plans to continue to grow the team as production launches get closer. Once the Kuiper System is operational, it promises to bring internet to both individual consumers and businesses and government agencies. Amazon Web Services, for its part, will be responsible for providing the networks and infrastructure to serve customers.

In Xataka | OneWeb has run out of Soyuz to launch its satellites. So he has had to turn to his competition: SpaceX

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