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United Launch Alliance, Amazon unite for global broadband satellite project

Tuesday, United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced that it had inked a deal with Amazon to take part in the technology behemoth’s project to increase global broadband access by sending advanced satellites into low earth orbit.

Amazon has selected ULA’s next-generation Vulcan rocket for 38 launches as part of the ambitious Project Kuiper. ULA is one of three firms Amazon is partnering with and will perform a majority of the launches.

According to Amazon, its rocket deal is the largest in commercial space industry history.

In a statement announcing the contract, ULA president and CEO Tory Bruno proclaimed that the rocket manufacturer was “honored” to have been chosen for the project.

“We strongly believe in the mission of Project Kuiper. We are honored to be entrusted with the majority of Amazon’s launches with a total of 47 missions, including the nine Atlas launches already on contract,” said Bruno. “At ULA we are focused on serving our customers and partnering with them to provide unmatched flight capabilities and mission operations and assurance, to provide the lowest risk and best-value launch solution.”

The Vulcan missions will launch from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Rajeev Badyal, Amazon’s vice president of technology for Project Kuiper, spoke about ULA’s unblemished mission success rate.

“ULA has decades of experience and a proven track record across dozens of successful commercial and government missions, and we’re proud to have them on our team,” stated Badyal. “Our work together to enhance launch operations at Cape Canaveral stands to benefit the broader space industry and contribute to greater resilience in space operations.”

According to a release, Amazon’s intention for Project Kuiper is to make high-speed, low-latency broadband easily accessible for deprived and underserved locations across the globe. The project is designed to serve residential households, schools, hospitals, industry, government agencies and other entities currently operating without modern broadband services.

Chris Ellerhorst, ULA director of strategy, business development and sales, said that the Vulcan rocket’s craft makes it an “excellent fit” for the project.

“Vulcan Centaur’s unique, single-core, heavy lift design, coupled with its industry-leading large payload fairing, makes it an excellent fit for Amazon’s deployment of the majority of its Project Kuiper constellation,” advised Ellerhorst. “In addition to the launches, this partnership includes substantial investments made by both companies in high-rate production, launch vehicle improvements, and launch infrastructure, to support Amazon’s long-term launch needs, which is great for the U.S. aerospace industry and supply chain.”

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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