The Internet giant said on Friday that it had purchased three rocket launches from SpaceX for its Project Kuiper internet satellites.
Amazon’s decision is unexpected considering that their Kuiper system is meant to rival Elon Musk’s Starlink in the satellite broadband space. Both Starlink and Kuiper are multibillion-dollar efforts aimed at building networks with thousands of satellites in orbit to provide services to users, including governments and consumers.
Previously, Amazon placed a huge order for launches from three of SpaceX’s main competitors, including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. However, this decision was questioned earlier this year when a shareholder lawsuit claimed that Bezos’ rivalry with fellow billionaire Musk was the reason for Amazon’s rejection of SpaceX.
Even though Bezos started both Amazon and Blue Origin, they are two distinct companies.
The world’s biggest rocket operator, SpaceX, has made it clear that it will carry on launching rivals of Starlink aboard its rockets. The company secured contracts for future launches and has already launched many other companies’ broadband satellites into orbit.
Amazon said on Friday that it has signed a contract with SpaceX for three Falcon 9 flights in the middle of 2025. The agreement’s financial terms were not made public.
The purchase of SpaceX represents the most recent change in Amazon’s approach as it works to launch Kuiper into space in time to comply with legal requirements. According to regulations set down by the Federal Communications Commission, Amazon must launch half of its 3,236 planned satellites into orbit by July 2026.
Amazon has placed orders with Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance, Arianespace, and ABL for over 77 launches. However, Amazon has changed launch plans before because to delays in the building of those rockets: before the mission launched in October, the company twice changed the rocket that would carry its first pair of Kuiper prototypes in an attempt to speed up development.
Amazon declared last month that the Kuiper prototypes had successfully finished testing, and the business is aiming to start producing commercial satellites for deployments in the upcoming year.
Amazon plans to spend more than $10 billion developing Kuiper. The business started work on a $120 million pre-launch processing plant in Florida earlier this year.
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