Elon Musk: Bezos retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX. Amazon protests SpaceX’s plans to launch more internet satellites
Elon Musk has criticized fellow centivillionaire Jeff Bezos, a space cowboy, for filing lawsuits against SpaceX.
Blue Origin, Bezos’ space company sued NASA earlier this month after it lost a crucial government contract to send astronauts to the Moon to SpaceX. SpaceX has been delayed by this lawsuit.
Amazon is now requesting the Federal Communications Commission to reject SpaceX’s plans to launch a second cluster of satellites for its satellite internet service Starlink.
Musk replied to the story on the second complaint by tweeting: “Turns Out Besos [sic] has retired to pursue a full time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX …”
Amazon’s latest complaint seems to be not a formal lawsuit but a protest letter. Although technically it is not that Amazon opposes SpaceX’s Starlink satellite launches, it does suggest that the company should be clearer about its plans.
Starlink relies on 1,740 low earth orbit satellites for its power. These satellites provide power for approximately 90,000. SpaceX plans to launch a tranche of 30,000 second-generation satellites to enhance its service.
The FCC should be informed about the location of the satellites around the Earth. Amazon complains that SpaceX needs the FCC approval in order to launch two different orbital configurations.
“SpaceX’s unusual approach in applying for two mutually exclusive configurations is directly contrary to both the Commission’s rules, and we urge that you reject this amendment,” wrote Mariah Dson-Shuman (corporate counsel for Amazon subsidiary Kuiper Systems).
Shuman claims that dealing with two different configurations “doubles the technical effort required by other operators such as Amazon’s Kuiper System, which has not launched any satellites yet.
These parties will have to look at “interference and orbital debris concerns” raised by two satellite configurations.
Shuman would prefer that SpaceX has a plan and follow it. This is because two configurations allow future satellite operators to hedge their bets, and it creates more work in the industry.
She concluded that the Commission should enforce its rules and dismiss SpaceX’s Amendment. SpaceX should then be invited to submit an amended version after agreeing upon one configuration for its Gen2 System.
The tweet came in response to an article about Amazon AMZN, +1.01% urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny SpaceX’s plan for a second generation of its Starlink satellites.
Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO in July.
Amazon’s protest letter, which is not a lawsuit, says that SpaceX broke the FCC’s rules by applying for two satellite configurations, as opposed to just one. The letter states that SpaceX’s unusual approach to applying for two configurations mutually exclusive is against both the Commission’s rules as well as public policy. We urge the Commission not to amend this.
The letter comes from an Amazon subsidiary, Kuiper Systems, which is in the process of developing its own satellites under Project Kuiper.
This is not the first time that the billionaires have fought each other. Musk and Bezos are known for their rivalry over space programs.
Blue Origin, Bezos’ space agency, sued NASA following the award of a contract to SpaceX for $2.89 billion to land the next Americans to the moon.
Musk frequently replies to tweets knocking Bezos’ Blue Origin and has called Bezos an imitator.
Blue Origin and Amazon were not immediately available for comment.