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Amazon’s first space internet satellites to launch on untested rocket

Amazon is preparing to launch the first two satellites to provide orbital internet. To do this, the company has booked seats aboard the Vulcan Centaur rocket from ULA, instead of the originally planned ABL Space Systems.

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In the past, Amazon signed an agreement with ABL to launch two prototype satellites aboard the RS1 rocket in late 2021. Last week, the Internet giant announced a change in plans. Now the spacecraft will be launched into orbit along with the Peregrine lunar lander.

Initially, the first launch of Vulcan Centaur was scheduled for 2020, but a series of postponements arose. Last week, the ULA assured that the two-stage rocket is almost finished and the first launch will take place in early 2023. In total, Amazon ordered 38 launches aboard the heavy rocket, and only two on the RS1 rocket.

The first stage of the Vulcan Centaur uses four BE-4 engines designed and manufactured by Blue Origin, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. ULA has been waiting for the engines for almost four years and it looks like they have arrived.

In total, Amazon plans 92 launches with different companies. They are designed for the next five years to launch the Project Kuiper constellation in order to directly compete with SpaceX. But, if Amazon has 3,236 satellites, then SpaceX plans up to 42,000. Musk already has more than 3,000 vehicles in orbit providing high-speed internet to remote locations.

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