Amazon is determined to compete with SpaceX’s Starlink program. The Project Kuiper made significant strides this week as Amazon signed three big deals. Rockets from Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance will carry the Project Kuiper satellites into space. However, Amazon didn’t incorporate SpaceX, which is another major private space player, into their program.
What is Project Kuiper?
Amazon’s Project Kuiper is the retail giant’s long-awaited aim to capture the satellite internet market using low-earth orbit satellites. Like Starlink, a huge constellation of satellites will be sent to space and will orbit the earth. They will provide affordable yet high-speed internet connectivity to remote areas. Moreover, Amazon intends to launch over 3236 satellites in the upcoming years and shroud the Starlink constellation.
Amazon signed deals with Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance to meet its target of 83 launches. Arianespace will conduct 18 launches while UAL will take care of the biggest lot of 38 launches. Moreover, Blue Origin which is Jeff Bezos’s aerospace company will handle the rest of the launches. Half of these Amazon Project Kuiper launches may culminate in the next years, as FCC rules.
Will Amazon Project Kuiper overshadow Starlink?
Starlink is already in the execution phase. Over 2000 Starlink satellites are orbiting the earth as of now. Project Kuiper, on the other hand, is still in the planning phase. To compete with Starlink, they would have to double, or even quadruple the number of satellites. But that appears a distant dream as of now. SpaceX is aiming to send over 42,000 satellites to lower-Earth orbit and will likely be the major player for decades to come. Moreover, Amazon Project Kuiper is the only rival to Starlink. No other company is even trying to match Starlink’s super constellation.
Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services gave a statement. He said that there was a lot of room for multiple winners in the satellite internet race. He also added that there was a lot of “unmet” need in the industry that Project Kuiper could hopefully fulfill. The cost of a Starlink connection is $1399 but according to Dave Limp, Project Kuiper will be cheaper at approx. $500. Needless to say, Amazon is aggressively leaping into the satellite industry and may even offer cheaper internet to remote areas.