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Amazon signs up SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launches for Kuiper satellites

By Harshita Mary Varghese
(Reuters) -Amazon has signed an agreement with SpaceX to launch three of Elon Musk’s Falcon 9 rockets to support deployment plans for its Project Kuiper, the ecommerce giant said on Friday.

Kuiper is Amazon’s low Earth orbit satellite broadband network designed to accommodate multiple launch providers and vehicles. The company announced the project in 2019, the year SpaceX began deploying its first operational Starlink spacecraft.

Amazon aims to build Kuiper as a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit. The first pair of prototype satellites for the project, which is its satellite internet unit, was successfully launched on Oct. 6.

SpaceX’s Starlink also aims to offer broadband internet globally with its constellation of 5,000 satellites.

“The most obvious point is the recognition that SpaceX is by far the leader in terms of transporting hardware into space,” said Brian Mulberry, client portfolio manager at Zacks Investment Management, which owns a stake in Amazon.

“There’s obviously Blue Origin and some other competitors…. they just have not been able to achieve the type of regular success that SpaceX has.”

The Falcon 9 launches are targeted to lift off beginning mid-2025, Amazon said, adding that it was aiming to start satellite manufacturing in the first half of 2024.

“We expect to have enough satellites deployed to begin early customer pilots in the second half of 2024,” the company said.

(Reporting by Harshita Mary Varghese and Arsheeya Bajwa in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

Disclaimer: This report is auto generated from the Reuters news service. ThePrint holds no responsibilty for its content.

Source: The Print

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