Amazon announced today they have bought 3 Falcon 9 launches to deliver their Project Kuiper internet satellites to low Earth orbit in mid-2025.
This wouldn’t be the first time SpaceX has launched a competitor satellite as they have now launched 4 times for one of their other competitors, OneWeb, with a total of 136 satellites delivered to orbit.
Amazon recently made the decision to move up the launch of their first Project Kuiper satellites from United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket which has faced numerous delays to an Atlas V that launched on October 6th.
The addition of the 3 Falcon 9 launches will help Amazon to deploy their satellites in a more timely manner in case of delays with the other rockets they have contracted to launch with.
They currently have 38 launches on the ULA Vulcan rocket (possibly 37 with the move to the Atlas V), 18 launches on the Arianespace Ariane 6 rocket, and 12 launches on Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket and none of those rockets are currently flying. The Vulcan and Ariane 6 have both undergone their static fire tests, and the Vulcan is scheduled for its maiden flight on December 24th, while the Ariane 6 is no earlier than June 2024. Blue Origin’s New Glenn is predicted to launch by the end of 2024.
Amazon did not reveal the cost of the contract or where the launches would take place from, but the cost of a Falcon 9 launch is around $67 million, and they would likely launch from Florida.
The current plans for the Project Kuiper constellation calls for 3,236 satellites to be deployed, with full-scale deployment to begin in the first half of 2024.
Do you think this will be the last time Amazon contracts SpaceX or do you think there will be delays with other rockets causing Amazon to buy more launches with SpaceX?
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