Amazon strikes deal with SpaceX for satellite launch partnership

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 lifts off early on September 21, 2014, from launch complex 40 at Cape Canaveral.

  • Amazon struck a deal with SpaceX to use Falcon 9 rockets to launch Amazon’s low orbit satellites.
  • The financial terms of the deal between the satellite internet competitors were not disclosed.
  • The rockets are set to take off in 2025 in support of Amazon’s Project Kuiper.

Amazon and SpaceX, competitors in the satellite internet space, have inked a deal to launch satellites supporting Amazon’s Project Kuiper.

Three launches of SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 rockets are planned for early to mid-2025, according to a Friday statement from Amazon, though financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to Amazon’s statement, the launches with SpaceX’s rockets will increase the company’s capacity to support full-scale deployment of its own low Earth orbit satellites, which are scheduled to begin in the first half of 2024.

As part of its $10 billion plan to create a satellite constellation to rival SpaceX’s Starlink, Amazon has also announced partnerships with Arianespace, United Launch Alliance, and Jeff Bezos’ aerospace manufacturing company Blue Origin for as many as 83 launches to carry a majority of its satellites into orbit.

An Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider that, while the previously announced launch contracts will provide enough capacity to launch the majority of the company’s planned constellation, “we always planned to add more capacity to support our long-term deployment schedule, and these launches are part of that strategy.”

In response to the news breaking on X, formerly Twitter, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said: “SpaceX launches competitor satellite systems without favor to its own satellites. Fair and square.”

Representatives for SpaceX did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

Two prototypes for Amazon’s Project Kuiper satellite constellation, a direct competitor of SpaceX’s Starlink, launched in early October. The prototype launch of the KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 was delayed from late 2022 due to changes being made to the rocket-delivery system that launches the devices.

The prototypes — which Amazon said helped validate the design and network architecture — are the first of more than 3,200 satellites intended to be launched over the next six years that Amazon plans to use to provide orbital broadband internet.

Starlink began launching satellites in 2019 and has over 4,000 satellites in orbit, with plans to eventually build a constellation of about 42,000.

In September, the company announced it had achieved internet connectivity on all seven continents, providing high-speed internet to more than 2 million people across 60 countries.

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