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Thursday, September 2, 2021

CONTEXT: Litigation vs. Innovation: SpaceX Responds to Amazon Anti-Starlink Filing

With Blue Origin falling far behind SpaceX and failing to deliver the engines it contracted to furnish for United Launch Alliance's next generation Vulcan rocket, and Amazon's Kuiper satellite Internet service yet to launch its first satellite while SpaceX's Starlink is approaching full operational status, Jeff Bezos seems to be adopting a strategy of suing his way to the stars, with litigation underway against NASA to block their selection of SpaceX for the human lunar lander and regulatory filings against SpaceX's plans to expand their Starlink constellation.

SpaceX just responded to the Amazon anti-Starlink filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission with this response [PDF], which begins with:

This letter is in response to the latest familiar tactics by Kuiper Systems LLC (“Amazon”) to delay a competitor, this time by claiming that Space Exploration Holdings, LLC (“SpaceX”) provided the Commission too much information about its next-generation constellation. Amazon’s recent missive is unfortunately only the latest in its continuing efforts to slow down competition, while neglecting to resolve the Commission’s concerns about Amazon’s own non-geostationary orbit (“NGSO”) satellite system. The Commission should see through these efforts and quickly put SpaceX’s application out for public comment where any issues can be fully vetted.

and concludes:

SpaceX has submitted complete information on its proposed next-generation constellation, satisfying every information requirement in the Commission’s rules. Amazon would clearly prefer to use procedural maneuvers to delay consideration of that application rather than allow it to proceed to consideration on the merits. As Amazon’s former Chief Executive has said in the past, procedural maneuvers—like the ones Amazon now deploys—have “become the bigger bottleneck than the technology.” The Commission should recognize this gambit for the obstructionist tactic that it is, reject Amazon’s request, and quickly put the amendment out for public comment.

Posted at September 2, 2021 14:31