In the next 5 years, 3 brand new heavy-lift rockets will launch thousands of satellites in low-earth orbit in the context of Amazon’s Project Kuiper.
The goal of the project is to provide broadband connections by using 336 satellites.
Rival Starlink is believed to contain more than 2,300 satellites orbiting the earth already.
The rockets will be developed through Arianespace, Blue Origin – created by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos – and United Launch Alliance.
Amazon states that Project Kuiper aims to provide high-speed and low-latency broadband to all customers, including businesses, households, and government agencies, as well as emergency relief operations mobile operators, as well as other organizations “working in areas that do not have an internet connection that is reliable”.
As with Elon Musk’s Starlink users connect to the internet through the terminal which communicates with satellites. Amazon states that its experience in the shipping industry and in making products like Echo and Kindle will be helpful in creating and distributing the devices.
“Project Kuiper will deliver rapid, affordable broadband for hundreds of millions of people living in rural and under-served communities across the globe,” said Dave Limp the senior vice president of Amazon Devices & Services, in a statement to announce the partnership.
Amazon will launch 83 launches over the next five years, claiming it is “the most extensive commercial acquisition of launch vehicles in the history of mankind”.
The firm is planning to launch two “prototype” launches later in the year, however, they will be using the rocket manufactured by ABL Space Systems, and not the three rockets that will launch the majority of satellites.
A sketch of Vulcan Centaur, one of the latest rockets being used for the launches.
Contrary to Elon Musk’s Falcon 9 rockets, the three new rockets being used in Project Kuiper’s launches are under development.
Another internet company via satellite, OneWeb which is owned by the British government, has recently decided to utilize SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets after being denied access to the built by Russia Soyuz rockets it was employing after an invasion in Ukraine.
In all, Mr. Musk plans for the launch of as many as 3000 Starlink satellites into space.
The benefit of this type of satellite internet using low-earth orbit is already being demonstrated in Ukraine which there was a report from the United States Agency for International Development announced that along with SpaceX that it has assisted in the delivery of 55,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine’s government.
However, as the orbit of low Earth is becoming increasingly crowded scientists have complained the light reflected by these satellites as they move over the horizon is causing more disruption to the night sky.
Astrophotographer Mary McIntyre, said on Twitter: “The satellites are literally ruining our gorgeous night skies.”