SpaceX from Elon Musk sought authorization to operate Starlink communications satellites under a lower orbit than initially planned from the Federal Communications Commission.
Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com Inc. states that the move would threaten interfere with its Kuiper satellites that have been designed for beaming internet from the space, such as Starlink.
A conflict which would usually be limited to regulatory documents is expanding to the public at a time when the great personalities involved are revealing themselves as billionaires are chasing dreams in the sky.
“It is SpaceX’s proposed changes that would hamstring competition among satellite systems,”Amazon tweeted from its official news account on Tuesday.“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.”The comment was preceded by a tweet from Musk, the richest person according to data collected by Bloomberg.
“It does not serve the public to hamstring Starlink today for an Amazon satellite system that is at best several years away from operation,”Musk said in a tweeted reaction to CNBC journalist Michael Sheetz’s coverage.
Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has deployed more than 1,000 satellites for its Starlink Internet service and is signing up for early customers in the U.S., U.K. And Canada, too. Amazon received FCC approval last year for a fleet of 3,236 satellites and has yet to launch any of them.
Amazon has earlier urged the FCC to deny SpaceX’s appeal for lower orbits. It was argued that the move would position SpaceX satellites in the center of Kuiper System orbits, according to the Agency’s filings.
SpaceX fought back in calls to the FCC, claiming that its proposals would not raise competition with what it called Amazon’s “still nascent plans.”
The lower orbit allows better internet access because the signal does not travel as far. SpaceX advised the FCC that getting satellites closer to Earth decreases the risk of space debris because they will fall out of orbit faster than the higher spacecraft.
SpaceX ultimately plans to run some 12,000 satellites and has earned FCC approval for some 4,400 birds, including 1,584 at 550 kilometers—where its satellites are currently orbiting. The corporation is seeking approval to set up another 2,824 satellites at the same estimated altitude, rather than twice as high as originally planned.