Jeff Bezos is coming after SpaceX from all directions. After bringing NASA to a federal court earlier this month over SpaceX getting a moon lander contract that Bezos believed should have belonged to his space company, Blue Origin, his other business, Amazon, is now trying to break SpaceX’s Starlink constellation internet project.
Amazon filed a complaint with the FCC seeking to stop SpaceX’s proposal to launch the next-generation Starlink satellites.
The move prompted a sarcastic reaction from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who makes no effort hiding his distaste for Bezos’ space venture.
“Turns out [Bezos] retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX,” Elon Musk tweeted early Friday morning in response to an article shared by The Washington Post space reporter Christian Davenport.
In an application submitted to the FCC on August 18, SpaceX proposed two systems for launching the next-generation Starlink satellites, one of which would involve the use of a Starship rocket, which is currently under development for carrying cargo and crew to the moon and Mars.
“Deliver more mass to orbit quickly and efficiently and, combined with reuse capability of the upper stage, launch more often,” SpaceX said in the application.
This week, Amazon’s satellite subsidiary Kuiper Systems, which is building a competing project of Starlink, filed a complaint with the FCC, urging the agency to deny SpaceX’s new proposals.
“SpaceX’s novel approach of applying for two mutually exclusive configurations is at odds with both the Commission’s rules and public policy and we urge the Commission to dismiss this amendment,” wrote Mariah Dodson Shuman, corporate counsel for Kuiper Systems.
Shuman argues that approving two configurations sets a bad precedent for the satellite industry by allowing satellite operators to A/B test new ideas and thus hedge business risks. She suggests that SpaceX should pick a plan and stick with it.
Musk has called Amazon’s Project Kuiper a “copy cat” of Starlink. Both projects aim to provide global internet coverage with a large constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit. Starlink has deployed about 1,700 satellites, while Kuiper has yet to launch any of its own.