A cockfight, in weightlessness, to win the jackpot, in the absence of the Moon. In the near-Earth suburbs above our heads, Elon Musk (with Starlink), Jeff Bezos (Kuiper) and others are fighting a fierce but silent, million-dollar battle to dominate this market. in full boiling. The challenge ? Provide very high-speed access to all inhabitants of areas poorly served by the fixed and mobile networks of telecom operators, via thousands of small satellites, the size of a washing machine, circulating in low orbit (550 kilometers) around of the earth. To date, about 40% of the surface of the globe is not covered by the Internet, leaving more than 3.2 billion people on the sidelines, according to the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), an organization which depends on the United Nations. .
In this race, Elon Musk took a clear advantage over his rival. SpaceX, for its Starlink network, has already sent hundreds of satellites into orbit with its own launcher. Jeff Bezos, who plans to invest $10 billion in his Kuiper constellation, has yet to launch a satellite after falling behind in the development of his first rocket. But the founder of Amazon has not said his last word. The Internet giant announced this week that it has entered into major partnerships with three space launch companies, including Europe’s Arianespace. A total of 83 launches are planned over a five-year period. Eventually, Amazon plans to put no less than 3,236 satellites into low orbit. A project that is close to his heart, it is also one of the three priorities mentioned in his letter to Amazon employees in February 2021, in which he announced that he would give up his position as general manager.