Amazon’s Project Kuiper satellite constellation is one step closer to fulfill its dream of actually making it to space. The company stated it has secured an agreement with the United Launch Alliance (ULA) to fly its satellites on nine Atlas V rocket launches.
- Amazon plans to use multiple launch providers and spacecraft to ultimately get the full complement of 3,236 Kuiper satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO). ULA is the first launch provider that Amazon has signed. The companies did not disclose when the launches will take place or how much the contract for nine launches is worth, but the value estimated would be in hundreds of millions of dollars. Each Atlas V launch typically costs more than $100M.
- ULA’s Atlas V is a proven workhorse in the space launch industry, having flown 85 prior missions with a perfect track record. The spacecraft was used to launch NASA’s Perseverance rover. While Amazon and ULA detailed the total number of launch vehicles that the contract covers, they didn’t share a timeline about when we can expect the launches to take place.
- Amazon has invested a lot of capital and time into Project Kuiper with a commitment to back it with an initial $10 billion investment and dedicated staff on the project that now includes 500 people, as well as a dedicated office and research and development facility in Redmond near its global HQ.
- Rajeev Badyal, VP of technology for Project Kuiper, said of the launch plans. “Atlas V is a capable, reliable rocket, and we’re proud to be working with ULA to support these important first launches. We’ve designed our satellites and dispenser system to accommodate multiple launch vehicles – this gives us the flexibility to use many different rockets and providers to launch our satellite system.”