SpaceX CEO Elon Musk doesn’t believe the regulations apply to him, Amazon tells the US FCC

Amazon told US regulators on Wednesday that Elon Musk does not believe government regulations will apply to the billionaire who runs Tesla Inc and SpaceX as the companies vie for rival satellite internet plans.

In a harshly filed lawsuit with the Federal Communications Commission, Amazon accused Musk of ignoring a variety of government-imposed rules, including several Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements.

“Whether launching satellites with unlicensed antennas, launching rockets without approval, building an unapproved launch tower, or reopening a factory in violation of an on-site shelter request, the conduct of SpaceX and other companies led by Musk makes your view clear : Rules are for other people, and those who insist or simply demand compliance deserve mockery and ad hominem attacks,” Amazon wrote. “If the FCC regulated hypocrisy, SpaceX would keep the committee 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 $10 billion (about INR 73,700 crores) network of more than 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. Origin Azul de Bezos challenged the decision of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to award a $2.9 billion (about Rs. 21,370 crore) lunar landing contract to SpaceX.

Amazon, on Aug. 25, asked the FCC to reject a proposal to revise SpaceX in its satellite configuration plans, saying it was at odds with FCC rules and left “almost every important detail unresolved”.

Last week, SpaceX accused Amazon in its own lawsuit with the FCC of trying to delay SpaceX’s plan, saying it was “just the latest in its continued efforts to slow down competition.”

SpaceX added: “Although SpaceX has deployed more than 1,700 satellites, Amazon has yet to address the issues of radio frequency interference and orbital debris that must be resolved before Amazon can implement its constellation.”

SpaceX suggested that 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 lawsuit said that “SpaceX has only one name for any private company that dares to point out its disregard for laws and regulations: ‘anti-competitive’.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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