The e-commerce and cloud giant has just bought nine Atlas V rockets to launch the first satellites of its communications constellation, Kuiper. Bought from United Launch Alliance, the joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, these nine launchers carry an unknown number of satellites.
This number does matter, however, since Amazon must have placed just over half of the 3,236 satellites in orbit by 2026, according to its contract with the FCC. They will be placed in low earth orbit (OTB) between 590 and 630 km above our heads. And promise a connection of up to 400 mbit / s to customers equipped with future communication antennas.
Amazon is now far behind Space X and OneWeb, which have already launched 1355 and 146 satellites respectively. But with $ 10 billion already invested last year and more than 500 people working on Kuiper, Amazon is serious about its investment. If the company has yet to launch its satellites with rockets from Blue Origin (owned by J. Bezos), it should be in a few years.
With many competitors in the segment of internet access satellites (Space X, OneWeb, Amazon, TeleSat, etc.), many concerns around the use of low orbit, space waste or observation from the sky may arise. But for now, no international law governs these uses of space.