Amazon has written to the Federal Communications Commission claiming that it should not approve SpaceX's Starlink application, given CEO Elon Musk's history of breaking rules.
The e-commerce and cloud giant hopes to launch a rival to the satellite Internet service Starlink, with its own 3,236-satellite service Kuiper currently under development.
"Try to hold a Musk-led company to flight rules? You’re 'fundamentally broken.' Try to hold a Musk-led company to health and safety rules? You’re 'unelected & ignorant.' Try to hold a Musk-led company to US securities laws? You’ll be called many names, some too crude to repeat," the letter to the FCC opens.
Signed by Kuiper Systems' lead council Andrew Keisner, the letter continues: "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."
The lawyer claims that SpaceX's FCC submission for approval for a second-generation constellation of 30,000-satellites was improper under the FCC’s rules, because it described two separate constellations instead of one, as the Commission’s rules require.
The company called for SpaceX to resubmit the proposal, but for one constellation. "Instead, SpaceX chose a more complicated path—one that involves misinformation, ad hominem attacks, and a belief that it can influence regulators via social media. This path will take longer and inconvenience many, but is sure to lead to the same place. The approach comes from a playbook familiar to any regulator faced with the unfortunate task of evenhandedly applying its rules to SpaceX: concede nothing, ignore rules wherever possible, and when all else fails, malign those that invoke them."
Amazon was keen to clarify that it is not seeking to block SpaceX's efforts entirely. "It asks only that SpaceX comply with the same rule that the Commission has without exception applied to others, and to resubmit its amendment as soon as it fixes the error," the company said. "SpaceX can do this as quickly as it wishes — and indeed could already have done so — and any delay that it suffers stems only from its refusal to acknowledge its mistake and fix it."
After Amazon first tried to get the application reworked, SpaceX and Tesla CEO tweeted: "Turns out Besos [sic] retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX..."
Last week, in its own filing with the FCC, SpaceX accused Amazon 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 radiofrequency interference and orbital debris issues that must be resolved before Amazon can deploy its constellation."
Amazon hit back at the allegation it was simply trying to delay SpaceX: "Shopworn from overuse, this claim becomes less convincing each time SpaceX makes it."