Amazon has filed an FCC protest against SpaceX's plans for more Starlink internet satellites

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Amazon has filed an FCC protest against SpaceX's plans for more Starlink internet satellites
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images; Joe Skipper/Reuters
  • Amazon's Project Kuiper filed a protest against SpaceX's plan for more Starlink satellites.
  • SpaceX broke FCC rules by proposing two satellite configurations, instead of one, the group said.
  • Project Kuiper is Amazon's internet-satellite project.

An Amazon subsidiary on Wednesday filed a protest letter against SpaceX's plans for a network of second-generation Starlink internet satellites.

Elon Musk's SpaceX wants to launch a second-generation Starlink constellation of nearly 30,000 satellites into orbit, adding to its 1,740 satellites already in space, the company said in a presentation to the Federal Communications Commission on July 29.

The aerospace company proposed two configurations for the network in an amendment to the FCC on August 18, but it plans to use only one. The second is a backup in case the FCC rejects the first, SpaceX wrote in the amendment.

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Amazon's satellite-internet subsidiary Project Kuiper, which hasn't yet launched any satellites, said in its Wednesday protest letter that SpaceX broke the FCC's rules by submitting two configurations. SpaceX didn't specify that it would submit two configurations in its original plans, the group said.

"SpaceX's novel approach of applying for two mutually exclusive configurations is at odds with both the Commission's rules and public policy and we urge the Commission to dismiss this amendment," Mariah Dodson Shuman, Project Kuiper's corporate counsel, wrote in the FCC letter.

"The Commission's rules require that SpaceX settle the details of its proposed amendment before filing its application- not after," she added.

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SpaceX is also making it harder for FCC operators, who will have to evaluate potential orbit debris of the two configurations, Shuman wrote in the letter.

"The Commission should enforce its rules, dismiss SpaceX's Amendment, and invite SpaceX to resubmit its amendment after settling on a single configuration for its Gen2 System," she wrote.

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Musk on Friday tweeted that Jeff Bezos, Amazon's executive chairman, had stepped down as the company's CEO "in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX."

The Project Kuiper letter is not a lawsuit.

Bezos' rocket company, Blue Origin, has filed two complaints against NASA after the space agency chose SpaceX for a $2.9 billion lunar-lander contract. NASA said it will put the contract on hold while a court reviews Blue Origin's protests.

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