Amazon links up with rocket companies to provide affordable broadband

Thousands of satellites will be launched to deliver communications to millions around the world.

Amazon is working with three rocket companies to help launch communications satellites the online retail giant says will help provide fast, affordable broadband to millions of under-served people around the world.

Seattle-based Amazon said on Tuesday that Arianespace, United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin will combine for up to 83 launches during the next five years, deploying the majority of Amazon’s 3,236 low-earth satellites to be used for what Amazon is calling Project Kuiper.

No financial details were given.

Amazon and Blue Origin were both founded by Jeff Bezos, who blasted into space on a Blue Origin rocket last summer. Blue Origin signed on for 12 launches, with options for up to 15 more.

Arianespace is the European space consortium that launched Nasa’s 10 billion dollar (£7.6 billion) James Webb Space Telescope in December and 18 launches of its new Ariane 6 rocket will put satellites into orbit for Amazon.

Arianespace hailed the deal as its largest ever, although it did not give a monetary value.

Stephane Israel, CEO of Arianespace, said: “That Amazon has chosen the Ariane 6 to do the job is a matter of tremendous pride for us and a great vote of confidence for our new launch vehicle. This day marks a decisive success for the Ariane 6 programme.”

Colorado-based United Launch Alliance and Amazon will work together on 38 launches.

Amazon has 1,000 employees working on Project Kuiper, which it says, once deployed, will be able to serve tens of millions of residential, business and government customers in places without dependable broadband.

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