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Musk and Bezos are at it like it’s high-school all over again

By Sanuj Bhatia August 27, 2021, 7:15 am

Elon Musk has mocked billionaire rival Jeff Bezos on Twitter, again. Last week, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to rant about Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ new space venture, copying the designs of SpaceX rockets. Today, Musk again wrote a Tweet taking a dig at Bezos, saying the multi-billionaire has “retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX.”

Earlier this month, Bezos’ space firm sued NASA after the space firm lost a government contract to put astronauts on the Moon to SpaceX. Musk said the lawsuit delayed SpaceX’s work on the project. A week later, Amazon urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to hinder SpaceX’s other project of putting a cluster of satellites in space — Starlink. After Christian Davenport, a Space writer at Washington Post, tweeted about SpaceX’s complaint to FCC. Musk wrote in a reply saying Bezos has retired to file lawsuits against his firm.

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For those of you who’re unaware, Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon last month. Musk is now mocking that Bezos has retired to do one job — of suing his space firm. The complaint from Amazon to FCC doesn’t seem to be a formal lawsuit as such. It seems like a protest from Amazon to hinder the plans of SpaceX and Elon Musk.

Starlink is SpaceX’s ambitious project of making the internet available everywhere, directly from the satellites. It has an existing customer base of 90,000 and is looking to add more by launching even more satellites. But before the launch, SpaceX has to tell FCC exactly where the satellites will be positioned around the Earth to avoid the risk of them crashing into each other. “Amazon’s complaint is that SpaceX is asking the FCC to approve two entirely different orbital configurations to be chosen between later,” says a report from The Verge.

“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,” writes Mariah Dodson Shuman, corporate counsel for Amazon subsidiary Kuiper Systems.

Shuman says that having two configurations will make it difficult for other operators — including Amazon’s own Kuiper satellite internet system — to operate with each other. The parties will have to review “interference and orbital debris concerns” raised by two separate satellite configurations. She says SpaceX should stick with one plan allowing others to work. “Accordingly, the Commission should enforce its rules, dismiss SpaceX’s Amendment, and invite SpaceX to resubmit its amendment after settling on a single configuration for its Gen2 System,” says Shuman in her letter.

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