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December 6, 2023
Amazon has bought three rocket launches from SpaceX to launch additional satellites for its Project Kuiper network.
The move is something of a surprise given the aim of Project Kuiper is to rival SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation. Both projects aim to provide broadband connectivity to remote areas using thousands of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.
Under the deal, Amazon purchased three Falcon 9 launches to “support [its] deployment schedule” as it gears up to launch the majority of its satellite constellation by mid-2025.
The launches are described as “reusable, two-stage launch vehicles” by Amazon, designed for the reliable and safe transport of people and payloads into Earth orbit “and beyond.”
Additional contracts have been signed with Arianespace, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA), with Amazon purchasing 77 heavy-lift rockets from the companies for its satellite launches.
To date, Amazon has launched two prototype satellites, announcing a 100% success rate from the missions. Mission data is being used to validate its satellite design and demonstrate the efficacy of its network infrastructure.
Now, the company is pushing to the next stage of the project, manufacturing its commercial satellites for launches next year.
“We are preparing to start satellite manufacturing ahead of a full-scale deployment beginning in the first half of 2024,” the company said in a statement. “We expect to have enough satellites deployed to begin early customer pilots in the second half of 2024.”
Assistant Editor, IoT World Today
Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.
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