Just two years ago, we learned about Amazon seeking U.S. FCC approval for its ambitious broadband satellite operation, Project Kuiper.
The project is now one step closer to reality as the online retail giant has secured nine Atlas V rockets from the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture United Launch Alliance. Project Kuiper an initiative to launch a constellation of low earth orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities worldwide.
— ULA (@ulalaunch) April 19, 2021
These rockets will help Amazon put more than 3,236 low-orbit satellites that will eventually make the Project Kuiper constellation. Amazon says it selected these rockets because of their reliability. The Atlas V rockets have been in service for nearly two decades and have a 100 percent success rate since 2007, serving during important NASA missions like Perseverance and OSIRIS-Rex.
“Launching a constellation on this scale is no small feat, and we will need multiple launch vehicles and launch partners to support our deployment schedule,” said Amazon in a recent statement. For this reason, Amazon’s Kuiper satellites are designed to fit with different types of rockets. One of the future carriers of the satellites might be a rocket from Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, but its rockets aren’t quite ready yet.
Amazon has already invested over $10 billion (roughly $12.5 billion CAD) in Project Kuiper and aims to have half of the constellation’s satellites in orbit by 2026 and the other half by 2029.
Image credit: Amazon
Source: United Launch Alliance