Amazon partners with three companies to launch its satellite internet constellation


The tech giant secured a total of 83 launches over a five-year period, which the company says is the largest commercial purchase of launchers in history.

The tech giant secured a total of 83 launches over a five-year period, which the company says is the largest commercial purchase of launchers in history.

Amazon has announced agreements with three companies – Arianespace, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA), to deploy the majority of its Project Kuiper satellites which aim to deliver high-speed, low-latency broadband to a wide range of customers. across the globe.

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The tech giant secured a total of 83 launches over a five-year period, which the company says is the largest commercial purchase of launchers in history.

The contracts include 18 launches with Arianespace’s Ariane 6 rockets, 12 launches with Blue Origin’s New Glenn, owned by Jeff Bezos, with options for up to 15 more launches, and 38 launches on Vulcan Centaur, the most recent ULA heavy launcher.

“Securing launch capability from multiple vendors has been a key part of our strategy,” said Rajeev Badyal, vice president of technology for Project Kuiper at Amazon, in a statement. “This approach reduces the risks associated with launcher shutdowns and supports long-term competitive pricing for Amazon, generating cost savings that we can pass on to our customers.

The announcement brings Amazon’s internet satellite constellation one step closer to reality, as rival Elon Musk-owned SpaceX continues to launch more Starlink satellites, having already launched around 2,300 satellites and expanding Starlink’s presence with around 2.5 lakh subscribers globally.

Amazon’s current deal with ULA is in addition to its existing deal to secure the space launch company’s nine Atlas V vehicles, announced in April last year. In addition, Project Kuiper plans to launch two prototype missions later this year on ABL Space Systems’ RS1 rocket.

The two prototype satellites – KuiperSat-1 and 2, will include much of the technology and subsystems that power the production version of the company’s satellite design, and are an important step in the development process, according to Amazon.

The e-commerce giant said it is working with Beyond Gravity, a Swiss-based space technology provider, to build low-cost scalable satellite dispensers that will help deploy the Project Kuiper constellation.

Amazon’s Project Kuiper was approved by the US Federal Communications Commission in July 2020, with a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO). Later that year, the company unveiled its low-cost client terminal for Project Kuiper, capable of delivering speeds of up to 400 Mbps.

The Seattle-based company said it was designing and developing the entire system in-house, combining a constellation of advanced LEO satellites with small, affordable client terminals and a secure and resilient ground communications network.

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