March 2, 2024

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Amazon allows its competitor SpaceX to launch satellites into space  Sciences

Amazon allows its competitor SpaceX to launch satellites into space Sciences

Amazon has signed a contract with Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX to launch satellites for its Kuiper project. The online store and technology company wants to create a network of thousands of satellites to provide internet services on Earth, but will now rely partly on its main competitor. SpaceX has already launched about 5,000 satellites into space for its Starlink to provide internet as well.

Amazon actually launched the first two Project Kuiper satellites earlier this year, but it should have been done much earlier. The group’s satellite program has been significantly delayed by a series of failed tests and other technical issues at launch partners, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.

An older Atlas V rocket from Boeing and Lockheed Martin was eventually used for the first launch. But it is not possible to launch more than 3,000 satellites planned for the Kuiper project into space in this way. Earlier this year, a major shareholder also complained that Amazon should have considered using reliable SpaceX rockets for its launches.

Amazon will now do the latter. The contract covers three launches of so-called Falcon 9 rockets, the first of which is expected to take place in mid-2025. It is not known how much money will be included in the deal between Amazon and SpaceX.

The name Project Kuiper is a reference to the Kuiper Belt. This is a belt of billions of rocks and ice blocks that orbit the Sun beyond the planet Neptune. This belt was named after the Dutch astronomer Gerard Kuiper, who described in 1951 that the belt should exist. His point could have been proven in the early 1990s.

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