Agreements comprise the largest commercial procurement of launch vehicles in history, providing heavy-lift capacity for Project Kuiper to deploy the majority of its Low Earth orbit (LEO) constellation of 3,236 satellites
Apr. 5, 2022-- Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) today has signed an 83-launch deal to build its internet constellation, which plans to deploy the Project Kuiper satellite constellation for broadband Internet access, has come up with the largest commercial satellite launch deal ever. The grouping will consist of 3236 satellite devices. The contract with three launch operators should ensure the launch of most of the satellites.
The Seattle based e-commerce / multinational tech Company told Business Wire; A total of 83 launches have been ordered from Arianespace, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA) on Ariane 6, New Glenn, Atlas V and Vulcan Centaur rockets. Launches will be carried out within five years. They will add to nine launches ordered from U.S. based Launch Provider ULA a year ago. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Amazon emphasizes that it is spending billions of dollars, and the total cost of the grouping will be 10 billion. Most of the launches -- 47 launches -- will be provided by ULA, nine on Atlas V and 38 launches on Vulcan Launch vehicles at Cape Canaveral. At the same time, Amazon will additionally invest in the infrastructure for the launch site of the new Vulcan Centaur rocket, which will allow it to be better adapted for launching Project Kuiper satellites. The deal with European Launch Service Provider; Arianespace includes 18 launches of the new Ariane 6 rocket, that will be launching from French Guiana. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's aerospace company; Blue Origin sold 12 launches of the New Glenn rocket in development, with an option for another 15 launches. All launches will be made within five years, but there is no word yet on when they will begin. Neither the Vulcan Centaur, Ariane 6, or New Glenn have yet entered service and are in various stages of preparation for their first flight. It is worth noting that Amazon received a license to deploy the grouping from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in July 2020. This means that it must put half of its satellite devices into orbit by July 2026, and in another three years - the entire group. So far, no Project Kuiper has been launched. The company plans to send the first two prototypes into orbit later this year using ABL Space Systems' RS1 small rocket, which is still TBA.
“Project Kuiper will provide fast, affordable broadband to tens of millions of customers in remote and inaccessible communities around the world,” said Dave Limp, Senior Vice President for Amazon Devices & Services.
“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, and we’re proud to be working with such an impressive lineup of partners to deliver on our mission.”
Project Kuiper aims to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband to a wide range of customers, including individual households, schools, hospitals, businesses, government agencies, disaster relief operations, mobile operators, and other organizations working in places without reliable internet connectivity. Amazon is designing and developing the entire system in-house, combining a constellation of advanced LEO satellites with small, affordable customer terminals and a secure, resilient ground-based communications network. Project Kuiper will leverage Amazon’s global logistics and operations footprint, as well as Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) networking and infrastructure, to serve a diverse, global customer base. Project Kuiper will also apply Amazon’s experience producing low-cost devices and services like Echo and Kindle to deliver service at an affordable, accessible price for customers.
“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. “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.”
The scale of these contracts will also boost the wider launch services industry, driving innovation and job creation in the United States and Europe. Suppliers from 49 U.S. states help develop and manufacture the next-generation, heavy-lift launch vehicles from Blue Origin and ULA, while Arianespace relies on ArianeGroup’s network of suppliers from 13 European countries to produce its Ariane 6 rocket. In addition, Amazon is working with Beyond Gravity (formerly RUAG Space), a Switzerland-headquartered space technology provider, to build low-cost, scalable satellite dispensers that will help deploy the Project Kuiper constellation. Beyond Gravity is opening an all-new production facility as a result of the partnership, doubling its production capacity and creating dozens of jobs in Linköping, Sweden.