ULA Atlas V is the first of many launch vehicles to deploy our full satellite constellation, helping bring affordable, reliable internet to far corners of the world.
There are billions of people on Earth without reliable internet, and we started Project Kuiper to help bridge the digital divide in these unserved and underserved communities around the world. The initiative is built around a constellation of 3,236 advanced satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) and will provide fast, affordable broadband in places where access is unreliable or expensive, or where it doesn’t exist at all.
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.
Today, we’re excited to announce an agreement with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to secure nine Atlas V launch vehicles to support Project Kuiper.
“We’re determined to make affordable broadband a reality for customers and communities around the world,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “ULA is a fantastic partner that’s successfully launched dozens of missions for commercial and government customers, and we’re grateful for their support of Kuiper.”
Atlas V is a highly reliable launch vehicle, providing the right level of performance, capacity, and dependability we need to begin our large-scale deployment.
“We’ve designed our satellites and dispenser system to accommodate multiple launch vehicles—this gives us the flexibility to use many different rockets and providers to launch our satellite system,” said Rajeev Badyal, VP of technology for Project Kuiper. “Atlas V is a capable, reliable rocket, and we’re proud to be working with ULA to support these important first launches.”
Atlas V is the current iteration of the storied Atlas rocket family and has a 100% success rate over more than 85 launches. The vehicle has been used to launch multiple NASA missions, including the Perseverance Rover now stationed on the surface of Mars and OSIRIS-REx, which just collected its first samples from the asteroid Bennu.
“Project Kuiper is an ambitious project with the potential to connect tens of millions of people around the planet,” said Tory Bruno, president and CEO of ULA. “The scope and scale of the initiative will also provide an enormous boost to U.S. leadership in space, helping create jobs and providing steady, reliable demand for the launch services industry. We’re honored to have Amazon turn to ULA and Atlas V to support its deployment plans.”
Amazon is continuing to support Project Kuiper through our initial $10 billion investment, and there are now more than 500 people working on the program at Amazon. In addition to this announcement, our team is heavily focused on inventing new technology to make broadband more affordable and more accessible for customers. This tenet led to the design for our compact, low-cost customer terminal antenna, and we are applying a similar focus to reduce costs across the Kuiper System.
We will continue to explore all options to launch the remainder of our satellite constellation, and we look forward to working with companies across the launch services industry to advance U.S. leadership in space and create jobs across the country.