Amazon on Friday said it signed a deal to use Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets to help launch satellites for its Project Kuiper internet initiative.
The contract calls for three of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launches to carry Amazon’s low-Earth orbit satellites, which are necessary to beam down internet connectivity. Amazon had already purchased 77 rockets launches from Arianespace, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance.
The deals comes after investors filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging the company didn’t field competing offers for Project Kuiper support before going with the three providers. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Musk have long been seen as rivals, particularly in the space field.
Project Kuiper last month successfully completed a test that included video streaming, shopping, and other basic tests from space to its ground network. Amazon is expected to launch more of its low-Earth orbit satellites next year, building up a constellation large enough to support its satellite-based internet service. A beta test is expected to start next year with a public launch planned for 2025.
The Falcon 9 launches are scheduled to lift off beginning in mid-2025.
Amazon said it is preparing to start satellite manufacturing ahead of full-scale deployment in the second half of next year.