Amazon is enlisting the assistance of considered one of its largest rivals to shuttle its Challenge Kuiper web satellites into area. The corporate will use SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket for 3 launches starting in 2025, Amazon announced on Friday.
Challenge Kuiper is Amazon’s low Earth orbit satellite tv for pc program that might finally present customers throughout the globe with web connectivity. Amazon launched its first two Challenge Kuiper take a look at satellites into area in October, the place it managed to connect to the internet and conduct a two-way video name. Nevertheless, it nonetheless has to do some severe catching as much as SpaceX’s Starlink, which has already deployed round 5,000 satellites.
Regardless of the rivalry between the 2 corporations, it doesn’t precisely come as a shock that Amazon has chosen SpaceX as a future launch supplier. Satellite tv for pc corporations and authorities businesses have turn out to be more and more reliant on SpaceX’s reusable rockets for constant — and cheaper — launches, as pointed out by an earlier report from The Wall Street Journal. The Elon Musk-owned firm powered 88 % of flights within the first six months of 2023 alone.
Most of Amazon’s satellites will nonetheless be ferried by Arianespace, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance (ULA), although. Amazon secured up to 83 launches with the three corporations final 12 months, which it says “gives sufficient capability to launch the bulk” of its deliberate 3,236 satellite tv for pc constellation. It is going to deploy extra Challenge Kuiper satellites within the first half of 2024, with beta testing beginning towards the tip of subsequent 12 months.