Amazon signed a commercial launch agreement by Arianespace, United Launch Alliance (ULA) and its own company, Blue Origin, to carry out 83 different launch acts to Earth orbit with the aim of placing its main phase of broadband constellation called Project Kuiper, which consists of 3,236 satellites.
According to information published by the company led by Jeff Bezos, in the next five years there will be 38 launches of the Vulcan Centaur rocket, developed by the ULA; 18 in Ariane, implemented by Arianespace and 12 in New Gleen, manufactured by Blue Origin. In addition, the latter contemplates the possibility of 15 additional takeoffs.
The exact amounts of the deal were not disclosed, though amazon is reported to be spending «billions of dollars» on contracts. In addition, the network has a total cost of 10 billion dollars.
These 83 takeoffs will be added to the nine launches that Amazon already had scheduled with the ULA, as well as the two on the RS1 rocket of ABL Space System and in which some prototypes are planned to be tested.
Something that was also not detailed in the aspect of the contract are the dates of launches of the rockets and in fact, none of the three rockets that were contracted are active, in the case of those developed by Arianespace and that of the ULA, they are expected to start flying before the end of 2022, although in the Blue Origin there is no scheduled date.
Project Kuiper is Amazon’s response to Elon Musk’s initiative, with Starlink, both seek to offer broadband internet in a satellite way and in the case of the firm that Tesla also develops, it already has more than 2,300 satellites in operation, in addition to a goal of 30,000.
Amazon says that, unlike the high costs of Space X, it will look for Project Kuiper to bring broadband «in an affordable and accessible way», so they would be inspired by the production of low-priced services, as in the case of the different Devices of Echo and Kindle.