As part of Amazon’s Project Kuiper, three new heavy-lift rockets will launch thousands of satellites into low earth orbit over the next five years.
Using a network of 3,236 satellites, the project seeks to deliver broadband connections.
Starlink, a competitor, is believed to have more than 2,300 satellites in orbit.
Arianespace, Blue Origin, which was founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and United Launch Alliance will build the rockets.
Project Kuiper, according to Amazon, intends to bring high-speed, low-latency broadband to households, businesses, government agencies, disaster relief operations, mobile operators, and other organizations “operating in locations lacking reliable internet connectivity.”
Users will access the internet using a terminal that communicates with satellites, similar to Elon Musk’s Starlink. Amazon claims that its experience delivering and manufacturing items such as the Echo and Kindle will be beneficial in the development and distribution of these.
In a statement announcing the deal, Dave Limp, senior vice-president of Amazon Devices & Services, said, “Project Kuiper will offer fast, inexpensive internet to tens of millions of users in unserved and underserved regions around the world.”
Over the next five years, Amazon planned 83 launches, calling it “the greatest commercial acquisition of launch vehicles in history.”
Later this year, the company planned two “prototype” missions, but they will use an ABL Space Systems rocket rather than the three that would launch the majority of the satellites.