SpaceX rocket launches are purchased by Amazon for the Kuiper satellite internet project

Amazon’s decision is unexpected considering that its Kuiper system is meant to rival Elon Musk’s Starlink in the satellite broadband space. Both Starlink and Kuiper are multibillion-dollar initiatives aimed at building networks with thousands of satellites in orbit to cater to users, including governments and consumers.

Previously, Amazon placed a huge order for launches from three of SpaceX’s main competitors, including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. However, this decision was questioned earlier this year when a shareholder lawsuit claimed that Bezos’ rivalry with fellow billionaire Musk was the reason for Amazon’s rejection of SpaceX.

Even though Bezos started both Amazon and Blue Origin, they are two different businesses.

The world’s busiest rocket operator, SpaceX, has made it clear that it will carry on launching rivals of Starlink aboard its rockets. The company signed agreements for future launches and has already launched several other companies’ broadband satellites into orbit.

Amazon announced on Friday that it has signed a contract with SpaceX for three Falcon 9 launches in the middle of 2025. The agreement’s financial terms were not made public.

The acquisition of SpaceX represents the most recent change in Amazon’s approach as it works to launch Kuiper into space in time to comply with legal requirements. According to regulations set forth by the Federal Communications Commission, Amazon must launch half of its 3,236 planned satellites into orbit by July 2026.

Amazon has placed orders with Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance, Arianespace, and ABL for over 77 launches. However, Amazon has changed launch plans before due to delays in the development of those rockets: before the mission launched in October, the company twice changed the rocket that would carry its first pair of Kuiper prototypes in an attempt to speed up development.

Amazon declared last month that the Kuiper prototypes had successfully completed testing, and the company is aiming to start producing commercial satellites for launches in the upcoming year.

Amazon plans to spend more than $10 billion developing Kuiper. The company started construction on a $120 million pre-launch processing facility in Florida earlier this year.