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Amazon inks deal to launch its first internet satellites

“Securing launch capacity from multiple providers has been a key part of our strategy from day one,” said Rajeev Badyal, vice president of technology for Project Kuiper at Amazon.
The Amazon DTW1 fulfillment center is shown in Romulus, Mich. Amazon is heading to space. The online shopping giant received government approval to put more than 3,200 satellites into orbit that would beam down internet service to earth. Amazon said the satellites could provide internet to parts of the world that don’t have it. Paul Sancya/ AP

Story at a glance

  • Amazon’s Project Kuiper has secured 83 launches from three commercial space companies. 

  • Those launches will allow Project Kuiper to build its network of satellites that can provide fast and affordable internet services. 

  • Project Kuiper is a $10 billion initiative that hopes to provide households, schools, hospitals, businesses and more with reliable broadband. 

Amazon announced a major step in its mission to provide scalable internet services to consumers around the world. The company has contracted up to 83 launches from three commercial space companies that will help lift off the internet satellites to space. 

Project Kuiper, a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite system Amazon created to provide fast and affordable broadband to underserved and unserved communities around the world, has secured 83 launches from Arianespace, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA). The three commercial space companies will provide heavy lift-off capacity for Project Kuiper, giving Amazon the capacity to carry into space the majority of its 3,236 satellites. 

Altogether, the contracts represent the largest commercial procurement of space launch services in history. Amazon says its investments, “will support thousands of suppliers and highly skilled jobs in the space industry across the United States and Europe.” 

“Securing launch capacity from multiple providers has been a key part of our strategy from day one,” said Rajeev Badyal, vice president of technology for Project Kuiper at Amazon, in a statement.  


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“This approach reduces risk associated with launch vehicle stand-downs and supports competitive long-term pricing for Amazon, producing cost savings that we can pass on to our customers. These large, heavy-lift rockets also mean we can deploy more of our constellation with fewer launches, helping simplify our launch and deployment schedule. We’re excited to move one step closer to connecting residential, business, and government customers around the world.” 

Amazon is spending $10 billion on Project Kuiper with goals to serve individual households, schools, hospitals, businesses, disaster relief efforts, government agencies and other organizations operating in places without reliable broadband.  

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found approximately 19 million Americans, or about 6 percent of the population, still lack access to fixed broadband service. In rural areas, nearly one-fourth of the population, or about 14.5 million people, lack broadband access.  

Even in areas where broadband is available, about 100 million Americans do not subscribe to the service.  

Project Kuiper is attempting to solve that by aiming to provide a constellation of advanced LEO satellites with small, affordable customer terminals and a secure ground-based communications network. The project will leverage Amazon’s global logistics and operations network as well as Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) networking and infrastructure to, “serve a diverse, global customer base.” 

Project Kuiper will also incorporate Amazon’s smart devices, like Echo and Kindle, to deliver internet services at an affordable, accessible price for all customers. 

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is also working to provide internet services to consumers, through a service called Starlink. The company has already put about 1,800 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit since 2019. 


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