Elon Musk blasts Jeff Bezos, alleging effort to 'hamstring' SpaceX's satellite internet

27 Janvier, 2021, 07:04 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • World's richest men feud over satellite fleets

A spat erupted Tuesday between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk as the tech titans' space firms exchanged barbs over their rival satellite internet projects being evaluated by regulators. Despite what SpaceX posts on Twitter, it is SpaceX's proposed changes that would hamstring competition among satellite systems.

Amazon, founded and led by Bezos, put out a statement claiming Musk's rival SpaceX project Starlink was seeking design changes that could "create a more risky environment for collisions in space" and also increase radio interference.

Elon Musk's SpaceX has asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to operate Starlink communications satellites at a lower orbit than first planned. It said the change would put SpaceX satellites in the midst of the Kuiper System orbits, according to filings at the agency. The changes to its license that SpaceX is advocating for would allow the company to orbit almost 3,000 of its satellites at an altitude of between 540 and 570 km (336 to 354 miles), which Amazon argues is too close for comfort. The Seattle-based giant said that it is clearly in SpaceX's interest to smother competition in the cradle if they can, but it is certainly not in the public's interest. In an effort to improve service and facilitate the safe deorbiting of satellites, SpaceX wants to put its first-generation satellites in orbits ranging from 540 to 570 kilometers (336 to 354 miles), rather than the originally approved range of 1,100 to 1,325 kilometers (684 to 823 miles).

The FCC in July authorized Amazon's proposal for Kuiper, which the company says it will invest more than $10 billion in to build.

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SpaceX included 10 Starlink satellites on its Transporter-1 dedicated rideshare launch January 24.

It contended that any claims of such interference were "misleading", and that Amazon was trying to "stifle competition".

In December, representatives of Amazon spoke with FCC chairman Ajit Pai about SpaceX's request to modify its Starlink plans.

SpaceX pushed back in calls to the FCC, saying its plans wouldn't increase interference for what it termed Amazon's "still nascent plans". The company is looking to widely expand Starlink access internationally, with public records showing the company registered in Austria, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, France, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa and Spain.

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