Amazon Chooses SpaceX for Satellite Launch, Overlooking Jeff Bezos’ Own Space Company

Amazon has sealed a deal with SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, to launch a series of internet-beaming satellites. 

This development is particularly notable as Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, concurrently advances his space exploration pursuits with his own company, Blue Origin.

Despite the well-known rivalry and frequent social media sparring between Musk and Bezos, this collaboration highlights the often-necessary alliances between business competitors in the aerospace industry. 

Some of Amazon’s satellites are still set to be launched aboard Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket. However, its debut has been repeatedly postponed and is now expected no earlier than next year.

Announced last Friday, Amazon’s agreement includes three SpaceX Falcon 9 launches, slated to begin around mid-2025. 

These launches are part of Amazon’s ambitious Project Kuiper, aimed at establishing a vast constellation of internet satellites to provide global connectivity. 

This project positions Amazon in direct competition with SpaceX’s already operational Starlink service, which boasts over 5,000 satellites in orbit.

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Amazon’s Satellite Ventures, Challenges and Collaborations

Amazon has sealed a deal with SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, to launch a series of internet-beaming satellites.

Currently lagging behind SpaceX, Amazon has launched two prototype satellites via a United Launch Alliance rocket – a collaborative effort between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. 

Amazon committed billions of dollars in April 2022 to launch Kuiper satellites atop 77 rockets supplied by Blue Origin, ULA, and European provider Arianespace.

This decision, however, sparked a shareholder lawsuit. The Cleveland Bakers and Teamsters Pension Fund accused Amazon executives of neglecting fiduciary responsibilities by not considering SpaceX, “one of the most cost-effective launch providers.” Amazon has dismissed these allegations as baseless.

With the recent deal, Amazon expressed confidence in meeting its deployment schedule, complementing its previous contracts. 

The company’s focus has now shifted to operationalizing its satellites. Project Kuiper’s VP of Technology, Rajeev Badyal, confirmed the prototypes’ success and anticipates customer beta testing by late 2024.

This partnership between Amazon and SpaceX underscores the complex dynamics of the space industry, where fierce competition coexists with strategic collaborations, all in pursuit of conquering the final frontier.

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