Although Elon Musk’s SpaceX has a significant head start in the race to provide internet from space, Amazon has doubled down on its own efforts. The ecommerce giant announced Tuesday that it just signed the biggest commercial rocket deal in history.
Amazon’s massive agreement stipulates up to 83 launches of its Project Kuiper internet satellites and involves three firms: Arianespace, United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Blue Origin, the Jeff-Bezos-founded space-technology company that’s long battled SpaceX over its Starlink endeavors in front of federal regulators, resulting in some fiery back-and-forths on Twitter.
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With Project Kuiper, Amazon intends to establish a network of 3,236 satellites in low-Earth orbit, making high-speed internet available anywhere in the world. SpaceX has already sent approximately 2,000 of its Starlink internet satellites into orbit. Amazon hasn’t yet revealed when it will initiate Project Kuiper, but FCC rules dictate that the company launch half of its planned satellites within six years, meaning approximately 1,600 would be in orbit by July 2026.
“Project Kuiper will provide fast, affordable broadband to tens of millions of customers in unserved and underserved communities around the world,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president for Amazon devices and services. “We still have lots of work ahead, but the team has continued to hit milestone after milestone across every aspect of our satellite system.”
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The terms of the contracts announced Tuesday weren’t disclosed. None of the four companies involved have commented on the cost of the deal, though it’s estimated to be worth billions.
Amazon.com, Inc. was down 1.85% as of 10:40 a.m. EST.