Amazon is entering into the sector of Internet satellites as it has signed the biggest rocket deal with three companies for up to 83 launches of its Project Kuiper internet satellites. With the launch, Jeff Bezos' Amazon is directly competing with Elon Musk's Starlink.
Amazon's Project Kuiper aims to provide high-speed internet everywhere in the world by building a network of over 3,000 satellites in the lower Earth Orbit. For the project, Amazon signed contracts with United Launch Alliance (ULA), Arianespace, and Blue Origin.
With United Launch Alliance (ULA), Amazon inked contracts for 38 launches. ULA is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
Contracts for 18 launches have been inked with European company Arianespace; and 12 launches with Blue Origin, with an option for as many as 15 additional launches with the private venture that's owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, according to CNBC.
When Will The Tests Begin?
The initial test launch of a pair of Kuiper prototype satellites is scheduled for later this year but the company has not revealed any specific details about it. But as per federal regulations, the company will be required to deploy nearly half of its satellites in orbit by 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. These launch agreements reflect our incredible commitment and belief in Project Kuiper."
However, many of the key terms in the agreement were not disclosed on Tuesday.
Kuiper launch contracts of Amazon are believed to be worth billions of dollars but the companies have not revealed it and they have also not made clear what impact competitive bidding and possible bulk order discounts would have on the overall pricing.
Musk and Bezos' Conflicting Business Goals
With this significant deal, Amazon is directly competing with Elon Musk's Starlink, which has over 2,50,000 global subscribers and had launched over 1900 satellites for its services.
Last month, the company gained attention when Tesla's CEO had deployed the service to help Ukrainians during the war.
Musk and Bezos both had earlier been attacking each other on social media platforms over their conflicting goals and similar businesses.