Oct 6, 2023 - Economy

Amazon launches satellites in race against SpaceX's Starlink

A rocket carrying the first two demonstration satellites for Amazon's Project Kuiper satellite-internet business readies for launch. Photo: Paul Hennesy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Amazon's ambitions for a satellite-internet business reached a major milestone today with the launch of its first two prototype satellites.

Why it matters: Dubbed Project Kuiper, Amazon's satellite plans could drive its next phase of growth and will face off against Starlink, the satellite-internet business from Elon Musk's SpaceX, which already boasts more than 2 million active customers.

Driving the news: Today's launch from Florida was conducted by a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin called the United Launch Alliance.

The big picture: Amazon's plans involve putting more than 3,200 satellites into low Earth orbit.

  • The company could start signing up customers as soon as next year.

Be smart: With SpaceX already further ahead, some analysts have questioned Project Kuiper.

  • It "has no discernible competitive advantages over operating competitors," Bernstein analysts have noted, per WSJ.

Our thought bubble: Like existing wireless and internet services, any advantages will likely come down to cost, reliability and customer service.

Go deeper: The space race for our cellphones

Go deeper