Amazon and SpaceX ink agreement for Project Kuiper satellite internet constellation launches

Amazon has purchased three Falcon 9 launches from SpaceX to support deployment of its Project Kuiper mega-constellation, the company said Friday. The new deal comes scarcely two months after it was revealed that Amazon was facing a lawsuit over its decision not to consider SpaceX – the most reliable rocket company on the planet – in its first round of launch contracts.

The three Falcon 9 missions are targeted to lift-off starting in mid-2025. Kuiper is planning a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit; the U.S. Federal Communications Commission required Amazon to deploy at least half of that figure by 2026.

With the clock ticking, Amazon went ahead and purchased much of the launch capacity through the middle of the decade, securing up to 83 launches from Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance last year at an expected cost of many billions of dollars.

Amazon shareholders the Cleveland Bakers and Teamsters Pension Fund later filed a suit against the board over this decision, alleging that they spent less than 40 minutes approving the launch agreements while not even considering SpaceX.

The lawsuit further claims that SpaceX was never even floated as a possibility: in July 2020, Amazon management informed its audit committee that the company was in talks with Blue Origin, Arianespace, ULA and a fourth unnamed company for Kuiper launch contracts. “Inexplicably, the most famous, reliable and obvious launch provider in the world — SpaceX — was not among the four companies presented to [Amazon’s] Audit Committee,” the complaint says.

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