Mon, 17 May 2021

ORLANDO, Florida: April 19 -- Amazon is moving ahead with plans to launch 3,200 satellites to offer Internet services from space.

Called the Kuiper Project, Amazon announced it has signed an agreement with Colorado-based United Launch Alliance for nine launches to deliver 3,200 satellites to low Earth orbit.

No date was announced for the first launch.

Amazon will beam broadband to customers throughout the world, including in remote areas in which internet service is difficult to obtain.

Amazon seeks to compete with Elon Musk's SpaceX Starlink project, which plans to launch 12,000 satellites to offer internet services. To date, about 1,400 Starlink satellites have been placed in orbit.

"We're determined to make affordable broadband a reality for customers and communities around the world," said Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder and CEO, in an April 19 press release.

Amazon noted that it will work with other launch companies to complete placement of the satellites.

Amazon originally announced the satellite project in 2019, but has released few details.

Amazon's satellites are to be launched on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, one of the most frequently used rockets, with over 80 launches since 2007. ULA is a joint venture of defense contractors Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

ULA's CEO Tory Bruno commented about working with Amazon on Twitter, saying, "Very excited to support @amazon's Project Kuiper, an ambitious project to help bridge the digital divide around the world."

Amazon has thus far spent $10 billion on Project Kuiper, including employing 500 people, the news release said.

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