AMAZON on Tuesday (5/4) announced a multiple launch deal to deploy a constellation of satellites in low orbit around Earth to provide internet service to people below. Its contracts with Arianespace, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA) are the largest commercial launch vehicle procurement in history.
The overall cost and launch time ordered to make Amazon’s Kuiper Project a reality were not disclosed. “We still have a lot of work ahead, but the team continues to reach milestone after milestone in every aspect of our satellite system,” Amazon senior vice president Dave Limp said in a statement.
“Project Kuiper will provide fast and affordable broadband to tens of millions of customers in underserved and underserved communities around the world.”
US billionaire Elon Musk, head of space company SpaceX, has put more than 1,500 satellites into orbit to create the Starlink internet service network. Late last year Boeing entered the internet space race after securing US authorization for a satellite that would provide internet services from above.
Project Kuiper aims to provide high-speed broadband internet services for households, schools, hospitals, businesses, disaster relief operations and more in places without reliable connectivity. Amazon is developing Kuiper in-house and plans to leverage existing capabilities in other divisions, such as logistics operations and AWS cloud computing.
Musk formed an alliance with Microsoft, which is Amazon’s biggest rival in the cloud computing market, to use the Azure platform which provides a satellite-powered version of the internet service.
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With multiple Amazon launch contracts awarded to Blue Origin, one Bezos operation will feed the other. Bezos has used part of his Amazon fortune to create and fund private space exploration company Blue Origin.
“We are honored to support Amazon’s ambitious mission to provide reliable and affordable broadband to underserved and underserved communities around the world,” said Blue Origin senior vice president Jarrett Jones in a joint release. (AFP/OL-14)