Amazon.com Inc. is stepping up plans for its proposed fleet of internet satellites,
that would compete with a service operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, buying dozens of space launches from three rocket companies.
Project Kuiper and SpaceX, are among the businesses and government agencies racing to send broadband satellites into low-Earth orbit, in some cases and markets betting they can compete with traditional broadband providers.
SpaceX’s Starlink internet service has 250,000 subscribers, an executive said at a recent industry event, and has launched more than 1,900 satellites in what it calls its first-generation satellite system, according to a January regulatory filing.
SpaceX cited in the filing that it has been making improvements to its Starlink satellites and to Starship, the large rocket SpaceX wants to use for Starlink deployments and other missions.
*Chart on space tourism market revenues
the Federal Communications Commission authorized Project Kuiper to deploy 3,236 broadband satellites, according to a FCC filing.
Project Kuiper hired Blue Origin, the space company founded by Jeff Bezos, the former Amazon chief executive who serves as executive chair on the e-commerce company’s board, to conduct a dozen launches, along with options for another 15.
United Launch Alliance, a company owned by Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., is tasked with 38 launches, adding to nine launches Amazon announced last year on a separate ULA rocket.
The French company Arianespace SAS is expected to conduct 18.