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SpaceX, Amazon spar over plans for satellites: report

SpaceX, Amazon spar over plans for satellites: report
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SpaceX and Amazon are competing for satellite space at a certain altitude for their respective internet network projects, CNBC reported on Tuesday.

SpaceX CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskOn The Money: House Democrats line up .5T in spending without budget | GOP takes aim at IRS | House Democrat mulls wealth tax What will Elon Musk and Richard Branson do about Jeff Bezos flying into space? Republicans open new line of attack on IRS MORE criticized Amazon in a now-deleted tweet on Tuesday for calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny a request from SpaceX’s Starlink satellite system to move to lower altitudes. 

“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 the tweet. 

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He is requesting his satellites to be moved to lower altitudes than originally planned, a request to which Amazon, along with others, object. 

“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. Those changes not only create a more dangerous environment for collisions in space, but they also increase radio interference for customers,” Amazon said in a statement to CNBC.

“Despite what SpaceX posts on Twitter, it is SpaceX’s proposed changes that would hamstring competition among satellite systems. 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,” an Amazon spokesperson said.

Amazon’s satellite internet project, which is called Project Kuiper and was approved by the FCC in July, seeks to launch more than 3,000 satellites. The company will invest more than $10 billion into the project. 

Starlink, meanwhile, wants to launch 12,000 satellites into orbit and already has 1,000 up in the air. It launched a public beta program in October that costs users $499 for the Starlink kit, including a user terminal, and $99 for the initial service. 

SpaceX Director David Goldman talked to the FCC last week about lowering the satellites for Starlink and argued Amazon is only objecting because they want to “stifle competition.”

“SpaceX has indicated that it is capable of operating its system without exceeding 580 km and has not demonstrated why such a condition should not be effective immediately,” Amazon corporate counsel Mariah Dodson Shuman said in a letter to the FCC.