Amazon.com has told US regulators that Elon Musk does not believe government regulations apply to the billionaire who heads Tesla and SpaceX as the companies spar over rival satellite-based Internet plans.
In a harshly worded filing with the US Federal Communications Commission, Amazon accused Musk of ignoring a variety of government-imposed rules, including several US Federal Aviation Administration requirements.
“Whether it is launching satellites with unlicensed antennas, launching rockets without approval, building an unapproved launch tower, or re-opening a factory in violation of a shelter-in-place order, the conduct of SpaceX and other Musk-led companies makes their view plain: Rules are for other people, and those who insist upon or even simply request compliance are deserving of derision and ad hominem attacks,” Amazon wrote. “If the FCC regulated hypocrisy, SpaceX would be keeping the commission very busy.”
Both SpaceX and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. The FCC and FAA declined to comment.
Amazon’s Project Kuiper, a planned US$10-billion network of over 3 000 satellites that will provide high-speed Internet from space, faces stiff competition from SpaceX’s Starlink network.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Musk are rivals in the private space launch business. Bezos’s Blue Origin has challenged Nasa’s decision to award a $2.9-billion lunar lander contract to SpaceX.
War of words
Amazon on 25 August asked the FCC to reject a proposed SpaceX revision to its satellite configuration plans, saying it was at odds with FCC rules and left “nearly every major detail unsettled”.
Last week, SpaceX accused Amazon in its own filing with the FCC of seeking to delay SpaceX’s plan, saying it was “only the latest in its continuing efforts to slow down competition”.
SpaceX added: “While SpaceX has proceeded to deploy more than 1 700 satellites, Amazon has yet to even attempt to address the radio frequency interference and orbital debris issues that must be resolved before Amazon can deploy its constellation.”
SpaceX suggested Amazon “as it falls behind competitors … is more than willing to use regulatory and legal processes to create obstacles designed to delay those competitors from leaving Amazon even further behind”.
Amazon’s filing said: “SpaceX has just one name for any private company that dares point out its flouting of laws and regulations: ‘anticompetitive’.” — Reported by David Shepardson, (c) 2021 Reuters