Amazon today listed a list of SpaceX regulatory disputes in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, marking the latest chapter in the battle for broadband satellite constellations.
The letter sent to the FCC by C. Andrew Keisner, chief legal counsel of Amazon’s multi-billion-dollar Kuiper satellite project, stated that SpaceX had treated the regulatory requirements rudely and that SpaceX denounced anyone who tried to hold the company accountable.
“Whether it is launching a satellite with an unlicensed antenna, launching a rocket without approval, building an unapproved launch tower, or restarting construction in violation of an asylum-in-place order, SpaceX and other Musk-led companies have made them clear at a glance.: The rules apply to them. Others, those who insist or even just demand compliance should be ridiculed and personally attacked,” Kesner wrote.
This is in response to SpaceX’s complaint last week that Amazon is “very willing to use regulatory and legal procedures to create obstacles designed to delay” competitors. We have contacted SpaceX and hope to respond to today’s letter and will update this report based on any news we receive.
The core issue of the war of words is SpaceX’s request to modify its application for the next-generation Starlink satellite constellation. SpaceX is already conducting beta testing of its initial constellation of more than 1,600 satellites, and last month, it proposed two new options for placing tens of thousands of additional satellites in low-Earth orbit.
At the same time, Amazon is still studying the concept of its Kuiper plan. More than 500 employees work at the Kuiper factory in Redmond, Washington. The antenna is being tested and the launch agreement is being finalized-but no satellite has been put into orbit.
Amazon opposed SpaceX’s latest request, saying it should not merge two potential constellations in one proposal.
“For this simple problem, Amazon proposed a simple remedy: resolve a single constellation proposal (like everyone else) and resubmit the amendment,” Kesner wrote. “Instead, SpaceX chose a more complicated path-one involving misinformation, personal attacks, and the belief that it can influence regulators through social media.”
For example, on Twitter, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk specifically targeted Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who stepped down as CEO of the company in July. “It turns out that Bezos retired to seek a full-time job against SpaceX,” Musk wrote in a statement. tweet The one misspelled Bezos’s name. In another tweet, Musk joked that the solution may be “slap his head with our space laser.”
Today’s letter with footnotes repeatedly mentioned that SpaceX and Musk’s other major company, Tesla, have caused some grief to regulators-including the unauthorized test launch of the SpaceX Starship prototype that ended in an explosion last year. And questions about the construction of the Starship tower, Tesla’s dispute over the asylum-in-place order during the coronavirus pandemic, SpaceX’s lawsuit over the launch contract, and the dispute over the design of SpaceX’s Starlink antenna.
Most of these cases were resolved, allowing SpaceX and Tesla to move on.
Kesner wrote: “If there is anything to say about SpaceX’s approach, it is that it effectively achieved SpaceX’s goal, which is to avoid rules and any sanctions that violate the rules.” “But SpaceX achieved this with this strategy. Success may be coming to an end.”
Kessner mentioned that SpaceX provided $885 million in federal subsidies last year to promote broadband Internet access in rural areas. In the months since, Some people complain Funds from the subsidy program will be used Areas with good broadband service, or Provide access to areas such as golf courses, traffic islands and parking lots.
In July, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wrote to SpaceX and dozens of other subsidy recipients to give them a chance Withdraw funding request “A major waste issue was raised there.”
Kessner said the FCC’s letter “provides some hope that SpaceX’s resulting changes will prompt a change in its strategy.” But he also issued a warning. “If SpaceX and Musk continue to be above the rules, they should wear seat belts: they will only cause further protests from Amazon and others who want to see the rules apply equally to everyone,” he wrote.