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Amazon signs ULA’s Atlas 5 for first 9 Kuiper satellite launches

Capitalism in space: Amazon today announced that it has signed a launch contract with ULA to use its Atlas 5 rocket for the first 9 Kuiper satellite launches.

The announcement did not say when these flights will take place, nor how many Kuiper satellites will be on each. Amazon’s license with the FAA requires that it launch half its 3,200 satellite constellation by ’26. Also ULA intends to retire the Atlas 5 in only a few years, replacing it with its Vulcan rocket. This suggests that the launches will occur in the next three years.

They better. Starlink is already going operational, and OneWeb is about to. Plus several other internet constellations are in the pipeline. If Amazon wishes to compete it needs to get those satellites in orbit as quickly as possible. Internet customers don’t generally change their servers easily, tending to stick with whom they’ve got. If Starlink and OneWeb scoop up all the best low-hanging internet fruit Amazon will find itself facing an uphill battle getting customers.

The article revealed one tidbit of interest. Rajeev Badyal, Amazon’s VP of technology for the Kuiper project, was one of the managers Elon Musk fired from his Starlink project in 2018 after realizing that that management team was moving far too slowly for his tastes. It appears Jeff Bezos then hired Badyal to run Kuiper.

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

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One comment

  • Jay

    I have seen a couple concept drawings, but I have not seen the dimensions of the Kuiper satellites. I too wonder how many can you fit into an Atlas 5 or Vulcan? I am surprised they mentioned that New Glenn will not be operational until 2022, but the first nine launches will be on an Atlas over three years. Interesting observation Bob.
    There are over 1,300 Starlink satellites and that took 24 launches. It seems the standard to launch 60 satellites per Falcon-9. Another 60 will be launched next week and two more launches in May. That is a lot of catching up for Bezos to do.

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