The “Battle to Become the Internet King,” or “Space Race 2.0,” is heating up. Amazon announced a multibillion-dollar investment in its satellite internet service just yesterday.
Amazon’s counterpart to SpaceX’s Starlink, Project Kuiper, has secured up to 83 launches over the next five years to transport its intended fleet of over 3,000 satellites into orbit. Consumers, corporations, and government organisations would all benefit from the satellite constellation if it were finished.
For the launches, agreements have been reached with three different rocket firms.
United Launch Alliance, a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture, will launch 38 satellites.
The James Webb telescope, which was recently launched by Arianespace, will conduct 18.
Aside from the Amazon Lord of the Rings show, Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ true love, will conduct at least 12 tests (with the potential for an additional 15).
Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which controls the commercial launching business with more than 50% of the worldwide market share excluding China as of 2021, is noticeably absent from the list. Project Kuiper’s decision to skip SpaceX is a strong indication that it will compete directly with Starlink in the broadband market.
In Space, Bezos vs. Musk
After all, a competitor launching a space company’s satellites isn’t unheard of. OneWeb (SpaceX’s primary competitor in the market) inked a satellite launch deal with Musk’s space company last month after its deal with Russia fell through due to the conflict in Ukraine.
However, the rivalry between Musk and Bezos is intense. For years, the two founders and their respective companies have been vying for orbital supremacy, competing for lucrative government contracts and slamming one other’s space projects.
Blue Origin sued NASA last year after the agency awarded SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract, but lost.
In response to the challenge, Musk tweeted about Bezos, saying, “Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol.”
Living on Mars, which is essential to SpaceX’s vision for the future, has also been attacked by Bezos, who claims that living on Mount Everest would be a paradise in comparison.
Amazon and Blue Origin, on the other hand, will have some catching up to do. Starlink has roughly 250,000 members and has deployed around 1,900 satellites.