Elon Musk Pokes Jeff Bezos, Says He Retired to Sue SpaceX

SpaceX Starlink and Space Debris 12 photos
Photo: ESA
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Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have never been the best of friends. The Amazon founder recently sued NASA for picking up SpaceX to put astronauts on the Moon. After Amazon sent FCC a letter of protest for SpaceX putting new Starlink satellites in orbit, Musk poked Bezos while replying to a tweet from Christian Davenport, The Washington Post’s space reporter.
Musk said that the letter of protest to FCC implied that “Besos” (kisses, in Spanish) retired “to pursue a full-time job” filing lawsuits against SpaceX. We have no idea if it was just a typo or some sort of irony regarding Bezos’ recent divorce and the man's name.

To be precise, the letter of protest is no lawsuit, and it was not directly sent to FCC from Amazon but instead from one of its subsidiaries, Kuiper Systems LLC. As The Verge explained, Mariah Dodson Shuman, corporate counsel for that company, wrote the letter because Starlink would be causing trouble for other companies with its Gen2 satellites.

According to the letter, Starlink currently uses 1,740 low orbit satellites, and it intends to launch 30,000 more of its second-generation devices. The problem is that SpaceX plans to deploy them in a different orbit, and they will be “mutually exclusive.”

That sort of arrangement would “double the technical effort of every operator faced with the task of reviewing the interference and orbital debris concerns raised by SpaceX’s amendment.” Interestingly, it seems SpaceX wants to adopt a similar approach to that Tesla offers its customers: it would wish FCC to “beta test” the satellites.

Shuman states in the letter that SpaceX defends that as a convenience because that will “enable the Commission to evaluate both approaches even as development proceeds.” The counsel argues that it is SpaceX who must “evaluate and select among different approaches.” That’s what safety organizations also argue Tesla should do with Autopilot and FSD: test them internally – with all necessary safety procedures – before releasing them to the public.

Space debris is a serious concern. Astronomers have already protested that Starlink satellites may make their studies more difficult. Deploying 30,000 more with no definite plan, as Shuman states, is something the FCC should definitely analyze. If FCC listens to Kuiper’s letter of protest, we bet Musk will protest against FCC’s bureaucracy, just like he did about Germany’s process for Giga Grünheide.

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 Download: Kuiper System LLC Letter of Protest to FCC (PDF)

About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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