Amazon’s plan to blanket most of the planet with internet access is one step closer to reality. The company has secured nine Atlas V rockets from United Launch Alliance. Those will help it start putting the more than 3,200 satellites that will eventually make up its Project Kuiper constellation in low Earth orbit. In choosing the Atlas V, Amazon went with a reliable workhorse. In service for nearly two decades, it has had a 100 percent success rate since 2007. It’s also the rocket NASA recently turned to for its Perseverance and OSIRIS-REx missions.
The Atlas V will support the company’s initial Project Kuiper deployment. “Launching a constellation on this scale is no small feat, and we will need multiple launch vehicles and launch partners to support our deployment schedule,” the company said. For that reason, each Project Kuiper satellite is compatible with multiple launch craft. And Amazon will need more rockets to put the entire system into place on schedule. When the FCC granted the company approval for the plan, it agreed to put half the satellites in orbit by 2026 and the entire constellation by July 30th, 2029.
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