Amazon reunites with Jeff Bezos and strikes largest-ever rocket deal to blast into space

Amazon reunites with Jeff Bezos and strikes largest-ever rocket deal to blast into space

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Amazon has joined forces with Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance (ULA), and Arianespace for 83 launches of its Project Kuiper satellites. Contracts have been signed for at least 38 launches with United Launch Alliance (ULA),18 launches with French company Arianespace, and 12 launches with Mr Bezos’ Blue Origin. There is also the option for up to 15 additional launches with the private venture owned by Mr Bezos.  It comes after Mr Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO in July 2021 after founding the company that made him a billionaire.

But Mr Bezos, the second richest man on the planet behind Elon Musk, is still executive chairman of the company and still owns a stake in the business. 

Amazon’s latest venture to team up with Mr Bezos’ other company, Blue Origin, as well as the companies mentioned above, involves building a network of 3,236 satellites, dubbed Project Kuiper.

The satellites, which will be blasted into low-Earth orbit (LEO), will have the function of beaming out high-speed internet across all corners of the globe.

Amazon, which was first authorised to begin the project back in 2020, pledged to invest up to $10million (£7.6million) to build it.

Jeff Bezos

Bezos has signed what has been hailed as the biggest rocket deal in the history of commercial space (Image: Getty )

Satellite network

Amazon’s satellite network is set to beam high-speed internet signal across the globe (Image: Getty )

A pair of Kuiper prototype satellites are now scheduled for a test launch from ABL Space’s RS1 rocket in late-2022.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the industry regulator, states that the company has to deploy half of its planned satellites within a period of six years. 

This means Amazon has to send at least 1,600 satellites into orbit by July 2026.

Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services, said in a statement: “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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Bezos' Blue Origin

Blue Origin will be involved in at least 12 launches (Image: Express)

“These launch agreements reflect our incredible commitment and belief in Project Kuiper.”

Blue Origin is set to deploy its New Glenn rockets for the 12 scheduled Kuiper launched.

But the company is yet to confirm a specific target date for the first launch.

According to some reports, the rocket is expected to launch no sooner than 2024.

Vice President of technology for Project Kuiper, Rajeev Badyal, said back in November: “We’ve invested lots of new technology to meet our cost and performance targets for Project Kuiper. All of the systems are testing well in simulated and lab settings, and we’ll soon be ready to see how they perform in space.

“There is no substitute for on-orbit testing, and we expect to learn a lot given the complexity and risk of operating in such a challenging environment. We can’t wait to get started.”

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Elon Musk

Musk is ahead of Bezos as the richest man in the world (Image: Getty )

SpaceX

Amazon’s new system will likely rival SpaceX’s Starlink system (Image: Express)

Amazon’s high-speed internet system will likely be competing with other internet providers which beam down high-speed signals from space. 

The main rival will likely be Mr Musk’s Starlink system, made by his company SpaceX. 

The systems already provide internet access to 29 countries, including parts of Ukraine amid the war with Russia.

It currently has 2,110 satellites in orbit.

Another potential competitor could be OneWeb, which is partly owned by the Government.

The UK-based company also plans for a network of more than 650 satellites – known as the OneWeb satellite constellation, with the ultimate goal is of providing internet to “everyone, everywhere”.

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