Musk and Bezos compete for space for their satellite constellations

Steph Deschamps / January 27, 2021


The tone rises between Elon Musk (SpaceX) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon), competing for their constellations of low-orbit satellites, supposed to provide high-speed internet from space


It's not doing the public a favor to cripple Starlink in favor of Amazon's satellite system, which will not be operational for years at best, Tesla boss Elon Musk, who is also head of space company SpaceX, tweeted on Monday.


The latter, founded in 2002, put several hundred satellites into orbit to form the Starlink constellation. SpaceX requests permission from the U.S. regulator to move them to a lower orbit.


But Amazon opposes this request, which would bring Elon Musk's satellites into the orbit of its Project Kuiper.

In July, the e-commerce giant obtained approval from the authorities to deploy a constellation of more than 3,000 low-orbit satellites to provide connectivity to currently uncovered areas around the world.


The facts are simple. We designed the Kuiper system to avoid interference with Starlink, and now SpaceX wants to change the design of its system. These changes not only create a dangerous environment in terms of the risk of collisions in space, they also increase radio interference for customers, an Amazon spokesman said Tuesday.


Despite what SpaceX says on Twitter, it is the changes SpaceX is proposing that would cripple competition between satellite systems. It is clearly in their interest to stifle competition if they can, but certainly not in the interest of the public, he continued.


According to a letter from SpaceX to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the desired modifications would not interfere with rival satellites. The company also accuses Amazon of stifling competition.


On Sunday, it announced that it launched a record number of satellites into orbit using a Falcon 9 rocket - 133 commercial and government satellites and 10 SpaceX satellites.


Amazon, for its part, plans to invest 10 billion dollars in its Project Kuiper. The group did not give a schedule but intended to begin the deployment of its 3,236 satellites just after the approval of the FCC.


Elon Musk, head of high-end electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, temporarily became the world's richest man in early January, surpassing Jeff Bezos thanks to the Tesla stock spike. The two men are vying for the position neck and neck as their respective companies go public on the stock market.

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