Jeff Bezos’ Rocket Launch Plans
Amazon’s Project Kuiper
Amazon (AMZN) has announced plans to spend billions with the goal of building up a network of internet satellites. The company has signed contracts with three companies that will provide the space launches.
The goal of its so-called Project Kuiper is to establish 3,226 satellites in low Earth orbit. This would provide high-speed internet service globally, in direct competition with broadband. The plan secured FCC approval in 2020.
Contracts with Three Launch Companies
Amazon is partnering with United Launch Alliance, Arianespace, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin to complete 38 launches. The program will include a test launch later this year with prototype satellites. Although the tech giant has yet to announce a start date for the Kuiper program, at least half the satellites must go up within six years to comply with FCC rules. Both ULA and Arianespace plan to launch rockets later this year.
The price per launch runs in the tens of millions. Some analysts estimate the value of Amazon’s Kuiper contracts to be in the billions of dollars.
Sparring Between Bezos and Musk
The plans to launch into the internet satellite business puts Amazon in direct competition with Elon Musk’s Starlink division of his SpaceX company. Mr. Musk got a head start in securing market share as it already has approximately 2,000 satellites in orbit. The company has also secured 250,000 subscribers to date.
Amazon argues it has a competitive edge due to existing technological, operational, and logistical expertise, as well as its established global presence. Once again, the competition heats up, with two of the world’s tech billionaires taking center stage.
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