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Space race: Amazon acquires Facebook’s satellite internet division to compete with SpaceX

Space race: Amazon acquires Facebook's satellite internet division to compete with SpaceX
Jordan Major

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has purchased Facebook’s team of more than a dozen satellite internet specialists, according to The Information on Tuesday, July 13.

Officials from both firms confirmed the acquisition, which looks to strengthen Amazon’s $10 billion ambition to construct low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites capable of delivering high-speed broadband internet throughout the world while ending Facebook’s ultimately failed efforts to accomplish the same.

Facebook’s team, which joined Amazon’s current 500-person operation in April, includes physicists accompanied by hardware and software developers with expertise in aviation and wireless systems.

Breakdown of the deal

The talent acquisition agreement included some intellectual property developed by the team, together with equipment and facilities. The two firms kept the other terms under wraps.

Amazon has moved quickly to compete with other satellite internet providers, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and its Starlink network, as well as OneWeb and Eutelsat in Europe.

The Federal Communications Commission gave Amazon permission to launch 3,236 LEO satellites in Project Kuiper in July 2020. The firm stated that it expects to start its satellite-based internet service once 578 satellites are in orbit.

Amazon seeks its own satellite network

Facebook’s research on satellite-based internet technology, which began in 2015, has run across several roadblocks. Taking into account Facebook’s lack of intentions to establish its own satellite network, the Amazon deal will allow the company’s satellite team to keep working.

The company would continue to collaborate with partners such as Eutelsat as well as pursue its other plans to expand internet access, according to a company spokesperson.

Rocket launches on the rise 

According to our recent research, in the first half of 2021, global orbital rocket launches increased by 44%, with the United States leading the way.

Our data shows the global number of orbital rockets launched in the first half of 2021 H1 rose by 43.9% compared to the first half of 2020. With the number of orbital rocket launches standing at 59 this year compared with 41 in 2020.

Space missions are becoming increasingly popular, with firms aiming to allow regular individuals to see the orbit without relying on professional astronauts. The number of orbital launches is growing as the public’s interest in space travel rises.

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