Technology giant Amazon added 9 Atlas V rocket launcher from United Launch Alliance ((ULA), a Boeing-Lockheed JV. This is Amazon’s first ever purchase of rocket launch vehicles. With the launchers, Amazon can send the first batch of its Kuiper Internet Satellites in space; The overall plan is to build and use a constellation of satellites in lower orbit to bring the Internet to “the far corners of the world,” an initiative dubbed Project Kuiper by the tech giant.
Understandably, deploying constellations would require more launch vehicles, as the planned number of satellites is a whopping 3,236. Stationing so many in lower Earth orbit will take a few more years as Amazon isn’t even finished with the broadband technology it needs and this is their first purchase of launch vehicles.
The company claims it plans to “provide fast, affordable broadband in places where access is unreliable, expensive, or where it doesn’t even exist”. Amazon said that Project Kuiper currently has 500 employees and that its team is investing much of its energy and resources in inventing new technologies to make broadband Internet more accessible and affordable for users. “This tenet led to the design of our compact, low-cost customer end antenna, and we are applying a similar focus to drive costs down across the Kuiper system,” Amazon said in a blog post.
According to Amazon, the Atlas V rocket has a 100% success rate in more than 85 launches. It was used by NASA for several space missions including the Perseverance rover currently on Mars.