Amazon founder Jeff Bezos tries to stay in the space race

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos tries to stay in the space race

Don’t get too far behind in the race for the stars. Faced with the new undisputed leader of the space industry, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos hopes to show, Tuesday, April 5, that he is not yet completely outdated. Its Amazon group has pre-purchased 83 rocket launches to deploy, in five years, its future Kuiper constellation of 3,236 satellites, intended to connect underserved areas of the planet to the Internet. That is “the largest commercial acquisition of launchers in history”, states the press release. Its space company, Blue Origin, is one of the three providers selected, like the European Arianespace. It must also provide the engine for one of the launchers of the third participant, the Vulcan Centaur, from the American United Launch Alliance (ULA).

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Kuiper did not give a date for the launches, but it will finally send its first two test satellites at the end of 2022, and half of its constellation must be in orbit before July 2026, according to the authorization issued by the American authorities, in 2020 . “Kuiper will deliver fast, affordable broadband to tens of millions of customers in uncovered or poorly covered areas around the world,” assures Amazon in its press release. The project also targets companies in the sectors of maritime or air transport, energy, agriculture, etc.

“Great progress”

Jeff Bezos’ company is counting on “the network and infrastructure of Amazon Web Services”, its cloud data hosting subsidiary, cloud computing. One of its clients, the American telephone operator Verizon, has just entered into an agreement with Kuiper to cover white areas in the United States. The Amazon service has also opened an office in France. However, its activity will not start for years, while Starlink, the constellation of Elon Musk, has already launched 2,300 satellites and has 250,000 customers, until Ukraine, where the service has been presented as a way to continue to access the Internet during the war…

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For the moment best known for having sent a few tourists – including himself – to the edge of Earth’s orbit, Jeff Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin, is garnering an order through Kuiper. precious: twelve launches on its future New Glenn rocket, with an option for fifteen more. Until now, this reusable launcher had only three customers, including the French Eutelsat. However, New Glenn still does not have a date for its maiden flight: initially planned for 2020, then postponed a year ago to “last quarter of 2022”, this will not take place this year. When contacted, Blue Origin wants to be reassuring and ensures that “great progress”.

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