SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is annoyed by the nonstop legal fights started by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Amazon and thinks the multibillionaire could make much better use of his time. But an Amazon spokesperson says that Musk has no grounds to criticize because he is just as litigious as Bezos.
“I think he should put more of his energy into getting to orbit, [rather] than lawsuits,” said Musk about Bezos’ space company Blue Origin and its ongoing lawsuit against SpaceX, by way of NASA, over a human lunar lander contract at the CodeCon 2021 in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Tuesday.
“You cannot sue your way to the moon, no matter how good your lawyers are,” Musk added, during an onstage interview with Recode editor-at-large Kara Swisher.
The next day, The Verge reported that after Musk’s CodeCon speech it received an unsolicited 13-page document from Amazon which listed dozens of lawsuits, government petitions, and other legal actions taken by SpaceX over the years.
“Attached is a list of some of the times SpaceX has sued the U.S. government on procurement matters and protested various governmental decisions,” a spokesperson for Amazon’s satellite division, Project Kuiper, wrote in an email to the publication.
The document categorized 39 legal actions SpaceX has taken since 2004 (SpaceX was founded in 2002) into three areas: litigation, protests with the Government Accountability Office, and oppositions filed with the Federal Communications Commission.
“It is difficult to reconcile that historical record with their recent position on others filing similar actions,” the Amazon Kuiper spokesperson wrote in the email to The Verge.
After Amazon’s statement was published by various media outlets, Musk argued in a Wednesday tweet that “SpaceX sued to be allowed to compete” while Blue Origin “is suing to stop competition.”
That seems be Blue Origin’s position as well, depending on where you stand on the issue. The ongoing lawsuit against NASA centers on the space agency’s decision to hire SpaceX as the sole contractor to build the human moon lander, which Blue Origin argues hampers competition.
On an unrelated project, Bezos’ Amazon has also filed complaints to the FCC, urging the agency to reject SpaceX’s proposal to launch the next generation of Starlink satellites. Starlink is a direct competitor of Amazon Project Kuiper, which aims to build a constellation-based internet service in low Earth orbit.
In response to that complaint, SpaceX’s director of satellite policy David Goldman wrote in letter to the FCC in August noting that Amazon has not updated the agency on its Kuiper project in “nearly 400 days” while having “lodged objections to SpaceX on average about every 16 days this year.”
“Filing legal actions against SpaceX is *actually* his full-time job,” Musk tweeted at his fellow billionaire on September 1.