June 6, 2023

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Amazon Lines Up Satellite Launches To Carry Musk .’s Starlink Program

Amazon Lines Up Satellite Launches To Carry Musk .'s Starlink Program

APRIL 5 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) On Monday, the company said it has secured a rocket launch with three companies, as it is spending billions to assemble a constellation of satellites for broadband internet transmission that will rival SpaceX subsidiary Starlink, which is owned by SpaceX.

The e-commerce giant said Project Kuiper has had 83 launches over five years and includes a deal with Blue Origin, a company owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

The race to send broadband internet using thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit is escalating, with SpaceX so far gaining an advantage over other players. Project Kuiper plans to launch its first two prototype satellites by the end of the year.

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“Amazon is investing billions of dollars across all three agreements. Together, it is the largest commercial purchase of launch vehicles in history,” an Amazon spokesperson told Reuters.

The contract includes 18 launches with Arianespace’s Ariane 6 missiles, 12 launches with Blue Origin New Glenn – with the option to add up to 15 more missiles – and 38 launches with the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan Centaur missile, a project Shared by Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) The Boeing Company (ban).

Together, the company said, they will provide the ability for the company to deploy the majority of its satellite constellation.

Deals are betting on three heavy-duty missiles that have not yet flown and whose development has been delayed. Stefan Israel, the company’s CEO, said Arianespace’s Ariane 6, under development, could launch up to 40 Kuiper satellites per mission.

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Also in development, Blue Origin’s New Glenn will carry 61 Kuiper satellites, while ULA’s Vulcan will carry 45, the company’s chief executives said Tuesday at a conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Dave Limp, head of Amazon’s hardware unit, said the company “wanted to diversify our launch partnerships,” which include previously announced deals with ULA and the launch of ABL Space rockets.

“It is the largest contract Arianespace has ever signed in its history,” Andre-Hubert Roussel, chief executive of Ariane Group, told Reuters, declining to provide financial details. “It’s the result of two and a half years of talks with them,” he said, adding that the launches will take place between 2024 and 2027.

The Kuiper project aims to use more than 3,000 satellites in low Earth orbit to transmit high-speed, low-latency Internet to customers, including homes, businesses, and government agencies.

Securing launch capacity from multiple providers reduces risks associated with launch vehicle layoffs and saves costs that can be passed on to customers, said Rajiv Paddyal, Vice President of Technology at Project Kuiper.

The Blue Origin BE-4 engine, which will also power the Vulcan rocket, experienced several delays.

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Additional reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru, Joey Rowlett in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Matthew Rosemine in Paris. Editing by Anil de Silva and Nick Szyminski

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.