Jeff Bezos has just announced the biggest contract in space history! The American billionaire, owner of Amazon, wants to compete with Space X and Elon Musk.
Jeff Bezos wants to send more than 3,000 satellites around the Earth by 2026
With a contract worth ten billion, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, wants like his great rival, Elon Musk, to launch a constellation of satellites to offer high-speed Internet access to all parts of the globe. For that, he will need a lot of satellites and a lot of rockets. The objective is to rotate 550 kilometers from the earth by 2026 more than 3,000 satellites. Bezos just booked over 80 rockets. Before, space was a market dominated by institutional launches, governments sent a few dozen large spy satellites, television broadcasting or weather observation satellites. From now on, we are changing scale, we are entering, as Stéphane Israel, the boss of Arianespace, says, into the era of “big space”from a world of expensive custom-made to an industrial vision of large volumes and economies of scale.
If most of the satellite constellations are projects controlled by Americans, Europe will still have a card to play in the space industry. Indeed, in the announcement of Amazon and its company Blue Origin, there is good news for Europeans. Most of the launches will be American, but 18 rockets have been ordered from Arianespace. Every year from 2024, six Ariane 6 will be launched for Jeff Bezos. If we add the 4 guaranteed launches for the major European states, the new Ariane rocket will have reached the critical size that will allow it to be profitable from its launch. In Europe we have launchers, expertise in the manufacture of satellites. Only start-ups and successful entrepreneurs are missing. So we need the old continent to join forces in order to also launch a constellation of low-orbit satellites. This is a fundamental question of sovereignty.
Amazon can invest billions in sunk funds for years
Can Amazon then impose itself against its great rival on this new space market? Certainly, Elon Musk has taken the lead with his Starlink project. SpaceX already has several thousand satellites in low orbit and has been able to offer services to Ukrainians deprived of telecommunications networks. However, the market is nascent and Jeff Bezos has assets to catch up. It has colossal human and financial resources which have already enabled it to become a player in space tourism. Amazon can invest billions sunk for years before a possible return on investment. Then, the billionaire can rely on the achievements of the e-commerce giant which has know-how in the manufacture of electronic objects. If its experts have not succeeded in smartphones, they have performed in Kindle readers and Alexa connected speakers. Amazon is also a champion of IT, the cloud and telecommunications networks. Finally, the group has a global customer base and a culture of quality of service and invoicing. Jeff Bezos will therefore not be the first to start and does not succeed in everything he undertakes, but he should never be underestimated.