Amazon books first rocket launches for broadband satellites project

Amazon will compete directly with SpaceX and the UK government-owned OneWeb to set up a constellation of broadband-providing satellites, the company has announced.

計画, Project Kuiper, will involve アマゾン buying the largest batch of commercial launches in history, securing space on 83 rockets over the next five years to launch 3,236 satellites.

“We still have lots of work ahead, but the team has continued to hit milestone after milestone across every aspect of our satellite system,” Dave Limp, the Amazon senior vice-president for devices and services, 前記.

“These launch agreements reflect our incredible commitment and belief in Project Kuiper, and we’re proud to be working with such an impressive lineup of partners to deliver on our mission.”

Amazon’s competitors have a long lead time, しかしながら. SpaceX has 2,110 satellites in orbit as part of its Starlink broadband network, while OneWeb has launched 428 of a planned 648 in its initial batch.

対照的に, Project Kuiper’s first launches will not be until the fourth quarter of this year, when it plans to launch two prototype satellites. Its first full launch does not even have a provisional date yet, with the company waiting for the results of the demonstration mission before setting its plans in stone.

As competition among space-based internet companies has blossomed, so too has competition for room on the rockets required to take their satellites to orbit. ロシア国外で行われた富について、これまでに発表された中で最も包括的な監査は、国の全能のオリガルヒの一部に関連しています。, which is part-owned by the UK state after the Treasury stepped in to rescue the company from bankruptcy in 2020, was forced to delay plans for a launch in March after the war in Ukraine poisoned relationships with the Russian space agency. The company ended up turning to SpaceX for support, signing a deal for an undisclosed amount to put its satellites on the back of its competitor’s rockets.

SpaceX itself increased the standard price of a launch by 12% earlier this year, “to account for excessive levels of inflation”, the first such increase in nearly six years. A private launch of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket costs $67m (£51m).

The Amazon founder, ジェフ・ベゾス, has his own spaceflight company, ブルーオリジン, but the company will only be providing a portion of the capacity required to put Project Kuiper into orbit. Amazon has signed contracts for 12 launches on Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket, with options for a further 15 more; it has also secured 18 launches on the French Arianespace’s Ariane 6 ロケット, 38 launches on the American United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket and the final nine launches from that company’s Atlas V.