The ongoing pissing match between Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX reached new ranges of pettiness on Wednesday with a letter filed by Amazon to the Federal Communications Fee concerning the methods wherein Musk plans to expand its rising satellite tv for pc community.
“Whether or not it’s launching satellites with unlicensed antennas, launching rockets with out approval, constructing an unapproved launch tower, or re-opening a manufacturing unit in violation of a shelter-in-place order, the conduct of SpaceX and different Musk-led firms makes their view plain: guidelines are for different folks,” the letter reads. The doc was written by C. Andrew Keisner, the lead counsel for Amazon’s Kuiper Methods subsidiary—a longtime rival to Musk’s personal Starlink undertaking.
Within the race to launch low-orbit satellites, Starlink is clearly within the lead. The corporate has already begun utilizing its community of roughly 1,700 satellites to supply web connectivity to tens of thousands of people throughout the globe through Starlink’s beta program, whereas Kuiper’s present plans are to launch its first satellites in 2023.
The driving pressure behind the present feud is that Starlink desires to throw up even extra satellites into orbit earlier than Kuiper has even gotten its foot within the door. Again in Could 2020, SpaceX applied for a license with the FCC to launch one other 30,000 satellites on high of the roughly 1,700 it at the moment has proper now. This previous August, SpaceX amended its preliminary FCC proposal, this time asking the Comission for permission to launch considered one of two distinct satellite tv for pc configurations for its second-gen satellite tv for pc system, as a substitute of the one set initially proposed. Amazon objected not lengthy after, telling the FCC that SpaceX’s new proposal was “at odds with each the fee’s guidelines and public coverage.”
Elon Musk being Elon Musk, replied with a snarky tweet, adopted by SpaceX submitting its own rebuttal with the FCC final week. The letter basically known as out Amazon’s terrible behavior of dominating just about everything it touches, saying that Bezos’s complaints have been nothing however a “continuation of efforts by the Amazon household of firms to hinder opponents.”
Smash minimize to this week’s letter, the place Amazon known as SpaceX’s response an “overheated response to an uncontroversial argument,” including that the corporate appeared to favor “misinformation, advert hominem assaults, and a perception that it will possibly affect regulators through social media” as a substitute of, effectively, staying on matter.
“This path will take longer and inconvenience many, however is certain to result in the identical place,” the letter reads. “The strategy comes from a playbook acquainted to any regulator confronted with the unlucky job of evenhandedly making use of its guidelines to SpaceX: concede nothing, ignore guidelines wherever potential, and when all else fails, malign those who invoke them.”
In a number of methods, these alleged techniques would possibly sound acquainted to anybody who follows the legal troubles dogging Musk’s fast-and-loose Twitter persona—however coming from an organization identified for using tax loopholes, deploying anti-union techniques, and harmful working situations, Amazon’s arguments sound extra like asinine whining than anything.
We’ve reached out to Starlink and Kuiper for touch upon the submitting and can replace right here once we hear again.
Correction: An unique model of this submit incorrectly acknowledged that Starlink’s present constellation included roughly 10,000 satellites in orbit, slightly than 1,700. We’ve corrected the error, and have added additional particulars on Amazon’s FCC criticism to make clear that the corporate didn’t object to SpaceX’s satellite tv for pc web plan in its entirety, however particularly to the modification SpaceX filed in August.