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April 7, 2022
Amazon announced agreements with Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide heavy-lift launch services for Project Kuiper, Amazon's initiative to increase global broadband access using a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO). The contracts total up to 83 launches over a five-year period, providing capacity for Amazon to deploy the majority of its 3,236-satellite constellation. It is one of the largest commercial procurement of launch vehicles in history. Project Kuiper aims to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband to a wide range of customers, including individual households, schools, hospitals, businesses, government agencies, disaster relief operations, mobile operators, and other organizations working in places without reliable internet connectivity. Amazon is designing and developing the entire system in-house, combining a constellation of advanced LEO satellites with small, affordable customer terminals and a secure ground-based communications network. Amazon has secured 18 Ariane 6 rockets from European spaceline, Arianespace, as part of this initial agreement. Amazon has signed an agreement with Blue Origin to secure 12 launches using New Glenn, with options for up to 15 additional launches. Amazon's agreement with ULA covers 38 launches on Vulcan Centaur, ULA's newest heavy-lift launch vehicle. The agreement is in addition to Project Kuiper's existing deal to secure nine Atlas V vehicles from ULA. There are now more than 1,000 people at Amazon working on Project Kuiper.