Amazon has announced deal with three suppliersUnited Launch AllianceArianespace and its own company, Blue Origin, for up to 83 rocket launches of its Kuiper Systems internet satellites, ignoring Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the company that has truly revolutionized the aerospace industry by using economies of scale to bring down its costs.

By marking the cutting-edge company in his sector as his enemy by hiring competitors and a subsidiary of his own company Jeff Bezos has just written a recipe for disaster.

Let’s start with United Launch Alliance, which will carry out 38 launches using its as-yet unproven and often postponed Vulcan rocket: this is the company created by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, but which were overlooked recently by the world’s largest contractor, NASA, in favor of Space X.

Arianespace, which will be responsible for 18 launches, is the old European public conglomerate Arianespace with a rocket, Ariane 6, whose launch has also been repeatedly postponed.

The third company, which will carry out 12 launches , with an option for another 15, is Amazon’s very own Blue Origin, with just four launches carrying some very wealthy tourists, and which will do so with a rocket, the New Glenn, whose inaugural flight has too been delayed until at least next year.

See the pattern? In short, comparison with SpaceX’s achievements is embarrassing, which prompts the question as to why a company with a lot of money has decided to waste it instead of opting for the logical option. Amazon intends to launch 3,236 satellites as part of its Project Kuiper, but will not be able to until its three suppliers get their act together. Meanwhile, Musk’s Starlink has already launched 1,385 of the nearly 12,000 that it intends to put into orbit. Project Kuiper is still on the drawing board, while Starlink has already acquired vast experience, with more than a quarter of a million installations worldwide, a website where customers can order its antennas, and is playing a big role in helping Ukraine defend itself against Russia.

When it comes to projects of this kind, experience is a differential that is not easily attained. What makes Starlink special is that it was able to gain that experience by using the idle capacity of the numerous launches of its parent company, SpaceX, with the cost of the launches covered by its customers, who were still paying a fraction of the cost they were used to. Amazon will have a very hard time in attracting and retaining talent and has no experience in matching those kinds of economies of scale.

When Jeff Bezos announces the biggest space project in history, he is flat wrong: the biggest space project in history belongs to SpaceX, and it has already had a major impact on the industry, as opposed to taking up a few billionaires for a spin in space. While others were still in the discussion phase, SpaceX was defining the trends, reusable rockets, propulsion and fuel systems or guidance technologies, that the rest of the industry is still struggling to rival.

Rather than taking NASA to court for choosing Space X, Jeff Bezos should be doing all he can to match the $500 million SpaceX saves NASA on a single launch.

With these kinds of issues, it’s easy to lose perspective. But if there’s one thing looking down from a satellite gives, it’s just that. And using that perspective allows us to quickly understand who’s who, who has done what, and who has so far done very little.

http://www.enriquedans.com
Contributor

Recently Published

Ads are coming to Netflix, perhaps even sooner than anticipated.  The Wall Street Journal has reported that Netflix has moved up the launch of their ad-supported subscription tier to November. The Sydney Morning Herald, meanwhile, is reporting that Australia is amongst the first countries likely to experience ads on Netflix later this year. Netflix first announced they would introduce […]
Have you ever been mocked or abused for your views on COVID? If so, you’re not alone. Anyone wishing to engage in an open dialogue surrounding the pandemic can often encounter a hostile climate, especially online. This extreme polarisation around COVID reflects a broader “culture war” in society, where disagreements on political, cultural and social […]

Top Picks

More and more colleges are becoming “metaversities,” taking their physical campuses into a virtual online world, often called the “metaverse.” One initiative has 10 U.S. universities and colleges working with Meta, the parent company of Facebook, and virtual reality company VictoryXR to create 3D online replicas – sometimes called “digital twins” – of their campuses that are […]
Proof-of-stake is a mechanism for achieving consensus on a blockchain. Blockchain is a technology that records transactions that can’t be deleted or altered. It’s a decentralized database, or ledger, that is under no one person or organization’s control. Since no one controls the database, consensus mechanisms, such as proof-of-stake, are needed to coordinate the operation […]
Woven through Thor: Love and Thunder, Taika Waititi’s latest contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a sentimental and age-old commentary on mortality and love.  In this intergalactic rom-com, the hammer-wielding Gods of Thunder face the shady “god butcher” Gorr in a race to the Gates of Eternity. Gorr has inherited his god-killing gift through […]

Trending

The Industrial model of education that fueled the modern era and its dizzying reach did its job incredibly well. Its prime accomplishment was the expansion of our ability to abstract the world. Until then, pragmatism reigned, limiting most people’s thoughts and interactions primarily because we lacked the tools to extrapolate information, to wield it for things that lay beyond obvious […]
I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.

Latest Titles

Empirics Podcast

  • The Future Of Aviation Is Electric?

Login

Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics