TAMPA, Fla. — Amazon has signed a contract with SpaceX to launch an unspecified number of satellites for its Project Kuiper broadband constellation on three Falcon 9 rockets from mid-2025.
The deal adds extra capacity to a multi-billion-dollar launch arrangement already in place for deploying most of the constellation’s more than 3,200 satellites with United Launch Alliance (ULA), Arianespace, and Blue Origin.
It comes months after a pension fund filed a suit against Amazon’s board of directors, claiming they “acted in bad faith” in approving the bulk of Kuiper launches to unproven rockets being developed by these three companies without considering SpaceX.
Amazon has ordered eight Atlas 5 and 38 Vulcan rockets from ULA, 17 Ariane 6 launches from Arianespace, and up to 27 New Glenn missions from Blue Origin. Of these, only the Atlas 5 is currently operational.
Blue Origin is owned by Amazon’s billionaire founder Jeff Bezos, and the lawsuit suggested personal animus between Bezos and SpaceX founder Elon Musk had prevented Amazon from considering the company.
An Amazon spokesperson said the “claims in the lawsuit are completely without merit and had no impact on our procurement plans for Project Kuiper.”
The company declined to disclose more information about the SpaceX launch contract beyond a brief blog post published Dec. 1.
Following successful tests of two prototypes that ULA launched to low Earth orbit in October, Amazon recently said it is ready to begin producing the rest of the constellation for a launch campaign kicking off in the first half of early 2024.
Initial services are slated to begin later in 2024 with potential customers including three telcos: Verizon in the United States, Vodafone in Europe and Africa, and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation in Japan.