It all started on Tuesday when Elon Musk, who recently surpassed Bezos to become the world’s richest person, went after Amazon in a tweet accusing him of trying to “hamstring” SpaceX – his aerospace company.
SpaceX is currently trying to convince the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow them to reposition a few of its Starlink satellites to lower altitudes than originally planned. But that is not sitting well with Amazon and some other companies who protested against the request of SpaceX stating that it would interfere with their own satellite launches.
According to Jeff Bezos’s Amazon.com Inc., if approved, SpaceX’s proposed move runs the risk of interfering and colliding with their planned launch of Kuiper satellites, which much like Starlink, have been designed to beam internet service from the space as well.
Now, this dispute would have never seen the light of the day if Musk had not lost his cool when a CNBC report named Michael Sheets didn’t post an update about the same on Twitter.
Musk, replying to Sheetz’s tweet, expressed the signs of his evident frustration by writing that it does not serve the public to ‘hamstring’ Starlink today for an Amazon satellite that is, at best, several years away from operation.
To this, Amazon hit back Elon in a series of tweets.
As of now, SpaceX has already launched over 500 satellites out of the 12,000 expected for completing its Starlink constellation in the low Earth orbit. It plans to offer broadband services in the United States and Canada by the end of 2021. SpaceX request for launching the satellites was accepted by the FCC back in 2018.
It’s also been seeing the most suited technology to bring another 1 billion people – who live in remote areas where the cost of laying network infrastructure is either high or impossible – on the internet. That is why other tech giants – Facebook and Google – are also working on their plan to launch satellite internet in the years to come.
Satellite technology, while being extremely costly to deploy, is the best option for providing high-speed internet access to people who live in rural or hard-to-serve areas where fibre optic cables and cell tower cannot reach.
Other than that, this technology will also remain unfazed by hurricanes or other natural disasters which often disrupt communication when it comes to the current internet-access technologies in use.
According to the FCC’s standing authorisation which was adopted with a 5-0 vote, Amazon is required to launch half of their Project Kuiper satellites by mid-2026 and complete the rest of the constellation by mid-2029.
Amazon proposed satellites will be designed and tested in a new research facility in Redmond, Washington. It said that broadband services will begin to be offered once 578 satellites have been launched.