SpaceX has only to behave well with its Starlink project, the competition arrives with the Kuiper project of its best enemy: Blue Origin.
For some time now, there has been a New Space company that seems to dominate the rest when it comes to occupying the skies. This is of course SpaceX. The firm of Elon Musk, intractable in the air as on Earth, leaves only crumbs to the competition. With projects all more ambitious than the others, SpaceX plans in particular to send the Internet everywhere in the world from space. A major challenge for the space company which must send thousands of satellites into space, the latter then covering the entire surface of our little blue ball.
This project, known as Starlink, is today the most developed idea of building a satellite constellation to send the internet to Earth. An idea that does not please everyone, for example astronomers complaining about the presence of satellites in the sky, they who upset scientific observations at each of their passage.
Blue Origin also wants its Starlink
But the project, if it makes detractors, also has its defenders. First, Elon Musk obviously, who sees his constellation as the future of the internet. But Starlink’s idea resonates outside the walls of Boca Chica, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch pad. Indeed, other space companies such as Oneweb or Blue Origin also have the project to develop a constellation of satellites in order to offer a competing offer.
The Blue Origin project, named Kuiper in homage to the astronomer of the same name, should see the light of day in the coming months. Indeed, Jeff Bezos’ firm announced this week that the first two test satellites would be sent into orbit to test their characteristics for several months, before they disintegrate in the atmosphere.
ABL Space Systems the newcomer of New Space
But while the firm of the founder of Amazon has a rocket capable of crossing the limits of space, Blue Origin preferred to entrust this first orbiting of the Kuiper-1 and Kuiper-2 satellites to a third-party company; the young ABL Space Systems. If this name rarely makes the headlines in space news, it is above all because the project is very recent.
ABL was indeed created in 2017 by a former… SpaceX. Since then, the project has won several contracts, attracting the attention of the American defense, and therefore, of Blue Origin. The two satellites of the Kuiper mission should be launched by the end of 2022, while the first flight of ABL’s small two-stage launcher is scheduled for the end of this year 2021.