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Amazon signs launch deals with Arianespace, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance for Project Kuiper

The retail giant has secured up to 83 rocket launches with the trio to deploy a bulk of its 3,262-satellite constellation

Credit: Amazon

Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance (ULA) have partnered with Amazon to support the latter’s Kuiper project, an initiative aimed at expanding global broadband access via a constellation of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

As part of the deal, the trio has agreed to provide heavy-lift launch services for up to 83 rocket launch events over five years, enabling Amazon to deploy a big slice of its 3,236-satellite constellation.

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Per reports, the retail giant’s agreement with Arianespace, Blue Origin, and ULA space firms marks the largest commercial procurement of launch vehicles in history.

Among the 83 proposed launches, Arianespace has contracted with Amazon for 18 launches using the firm’s Ariane 6 launcher to place the Kuiper constellation of satellites into orbit for broadband internet access. 

Additionally, Blue Origin’s New Glenn and ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rockets are envisaged for Project Kuiper, with up to 12 and 38 launches respectively. 

“Project Kuiper will provide fast, affordable broadband to tens of millions of customers in unserved and underserved 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,” added Limp.

Amazon’s contract with Arianespace, Blue Origin, and ULA is also set to boost job creation and innovation in the launch services industry across 49 states in the United States and 13 countries in Europe. 

Amazon is also collaborating with Swiss-based satellite technology provider Beyond Gravity to build low-cost, scalable satellite dispensers that will assist with the deployment of the Kuiper constellation.

“Securing launch capacity from multiple providers has been a key part of our strategy from day one,” commented Rajeev Badyal, VP 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.”

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