Amazon shareholders have not been happy with the company’s policy of giving priority to Blue Origin launchers over SpaceX launchers. To the point that a pension fund has filed a lawsuit against the company.
Demand in the United States. Shareholders of a pension fund that owns shares in Amazon have filed a lawsuit against Amazon’s board of directors and its founder and director, Jeff Bezos. The plaintiffs consider that the company did not consider the possibility of using SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets in the launch of its future Kuiper satellite system.
The key to this protest in the form of legal action is that, according to the plaintiffs, the company did not even consider the possibility of using SpaceX launchers in its search for ways to put Amazon’s new project, Kuiper, into orbit. This would have been due, they denounce, to the rivalry between the two magnates at the head of the respective companies, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
Amazon has not been slow to respond to the demand. In statements reported by Reuters, the company said that “the claims in the lawsuit are completely without merit and we look forward to proving this through the legal process.”
The time is gold. One factor that could have been decisive in this issue is time. According to the plaintiffs, the Falcon 9 alternative, a rocket already in use, would have had numerous advantages, one of them being its availability.
83 launches, three companies. Blue Origin, the aerospace company owned by Bezos, was only one of the three companies that were awarded contracts for the launch of the new satellite network, the others being United Launch Alliance (ULA) and the European Arianespace. In total, 83 takeoffs should launch this new swarm of satellites.
However, the developments of these companies have been the protagonists of severe setbacks in recent months. Perhaps the most notable is the delay in the arrival of Ariane 6, the rocket that should have taken over from Ariane 5 before the latter’s retirement but which we now know will not take off before 2024. 18 of the launches are planned to go aboard of this rocket.
Blue Origin no se libra. Development of ULA’s Vulcan has also progressed more slowly than expected. This rocket will have to make 38 launches to put a good part of Amazon’s new network into orbit. However, the project has suffered delays, the last of which was caused by the failure of the engine tests of its first stage, the BE-4 developed by Blue Origin.
The New Glenn is the vehicle that should carry out 12 of the remaining 27 launches, with the possibility of being in charge of carrying out the other 15. New Glenn shares part of the Vulcan’s problems, since development also depends on the new BE engines -4.
Project Kuiper. The new satellites will be the orbital part of Amazon Kuiper, the satellite internet project developed by Bezos’ company. By many it is seen as Amazon’s answer to SpaceX’s satellite internet, Starlink.
It was not until a few months ago that we learned the details of this alternative to Musk’s project. Details such as the connection speed it will offer (1 Gbps). The dates on which it will be implemented continue to be, however, a mystery, and the possibility that the system will begin to operate in the second half of next year as announced seems too optimistic.
To what extent delays in the arrival of the vehicles that will put the satellites into orbit will affect the project is still a mystery. 2026 was the date set for the constellation of satellites to be formed in our celestial vault, although this date has already been delayed until 2029. Probably by then the rocket developments will have gained momentum or, perhaps, we will end up seeing the irony of SpaceX putting into practice orbit the satellite internet of its competitor.
In Xataka |
Image | Ariane 6, one of the rockets that must put the satellites into orbit. THAT.