Amazon responds to Elon Musk’s accusations of impeding SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet plans

TruckElectric

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POINTS
  • Amazon’s satellite internet project on Thursday clarified its position in response to recent accusations from Elon Musk and SpaceX that Jeff Bezos’ company is attempting to “stifle competition” in the sector.
  • SpaceX’s Starlink and Amazon’s Kuiper are working to build space-based internet networks by launching thousands of satellites into orbit.
  • Amazon says the FCC should consider Starlink as a “newly designed system” and include it in a broader regulatory processing round that was open when SpaceX submitted a modification request last year.



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Founder of Amazon as well as space company Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, speaks about the future of commercial space travel.
Brent Lewis | Denver Post | Getty Images


The satellite internet projects of the two richest men on the planet continue to spar behind-the-scenes with federal regulators, with Amazon on Thursday clarifying its position in response to recent accusations from Elon Musk and SpaceX that Jeff Bezos’ company is attempting to “stifle competition” in the sector.

Representatives of Amazon spoke to Federal Communications Commission officials earlier this week, doubling down on its position that the FCC should not approve SpaceX’s modification request for parts of its Starlink satellite network. Amazon and SpaceX are working to build space-based internet networks — called Kuiper and Starlink, respectively — by launching thousands of satellites into orbit, known in the industry as a constellation.

While Amazon emphasized that it “supports the ability of operators to modify their system designs,” the company argued that SpaceX’s proposed changes to Starlink are too significant to be considered as a simple modification by the FCC. Rather, Amazon says the FCC should consider Starlink as a “newly designed system” and include it in a broader regulatory processing round that was open when SpaceX submitted the request last year.

“Doing so would be consistent with Commission precedent, protect the public interest, encourage coordination, and promote competition,” Amazon corporate counsel Mariah Dodson Shuman wrote in a letter to the FCC.
Amazon is not alone in pushing back on Starlink’s modification request, with satellite operators Viasat, SES, and Kepler Communications also filing objections.

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Behind SpaceX and Amazon plans launch thousands of satellites

The FCC dispute between SpaceX and Amazon spilled into public view last week, when Musk took to Twitter to allege that his competitor is attempting “to hamstring Starlink,” adding that Kuiper “is at best several years away from operation.” While Amazon has yet to announce when its first Kuiper satellites will launch, the FCC’s authorization of the system last year requires that the company deploy half of its planned satellites within six years. That represents Amazon deploying about 1,600 satellites in orbit by July 2026.

SpaceX’s modification request would entail moving about 2,800 satellites in the initial phase of the Starlink constellation to a lower altitude orbit than the FCC had authorized. So far the FCC has yet to make a decision on the proposal, although the regulator granted SpaceX a smaller request to deploy 10 satellites last month into a lower than planned orbit.


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60 Starlink satellites deploy into orbit after the company’s 17th mission.
SpaceX

Amazon’s concern with SpaceX’s modification focuses around issues of safety and interference, with the company arguing that the Starlink change “would significantly increase interference to Kuiper” and other satellite systems, while also making Starlink “more susceptible to interference from Kuiper” and others.
SpaceX director David Goldman told the FCC in January that Starlink’s modification would “be able to achieve the advantages of lower altitudes without causing a significant increase in interference.” Additionally, Goldman highlighted that Amazon representatives have had “30 meetings to oppose SpaceX” but “no meetings to authorize its own system,” which he interpreted as an attempt to stifle competition.

But, while SpaceX argued that Amazon and other companies “cherry pick data ... to reach misleading claims of interference,” Kuiper’s Shuman alleged that SpaceX “omitted” comparative data from its analysis. Shuman said that data shows Starlink’s modification “increases interference into Kuiper” connectivity stations on the ground.
7430137-Project_Kuiper_Customer_Terminal_Antenna_3.jpg

A Project Kuiper engineer sets up a a prototype antenna for a test.
Amazon
Both companies’ satellite networks represent ambitious projects, with SpaceX, like Amazon, saying its network will cost about $10 billion or more to build. SpaceX leadership has previously estimated that Starlink could bring in as much as $30 billion a year, or more than 10 times the annual revenue of its rocket business.


SOURCE: CNBC





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can someone that understand how these things work explain how we can put out this much space junk around the planet and feel safe going to moon or mars without getting hit? Are all satellites traveling on the same disk but different altitude? Is it always safe to go to space from Texas for example but not from Rio? Who keeps track of these things and says SpaceX can put a satellite in this orbit but a Chinese company can’t. Drop some knowledge on me So I know enough to Google.
 

Bill906

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can someone that understand how these things work explain how we can put out this much space junk around the planet and feel safe going to moon or mars without getting hit? Are all satellites traveling on the same disk but different altitude? Is it always safe to go to space from Texas for example but not from Rio? Who keeps track of these things and says SpaceX can put a satellite in this orbit but a Chinese company can’t. Drop some knowledge on me So I know enough to Google.
Not sure if this completely answers your questions but I stumbled upon this while looking and thought it was really cool.

http://stuffin.space/
 

Crissa

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can someone that understand how these things work explain how we can put out this much space junk ...
Well, these satellites are in known paths, and have control over their positions. These ones are in a low, low earth orbit. The Karman line to space is 100k, and these are at 500k. Even though they fill their orbit with satellites, they're still 600km apart inside that orbit (eventually, they start in a cluster and then spread out, so photos of them today in a group is from a launch). They're traveling at 7.7kms so a point in their orbit only sees one once a minute.

So even if you didn't aim for the giant 600km square their orbits describe, you just need pass through the minute they're not at that point you're crossing.

And these satellites will fall down in just a couple years without their guidance working. Usually they'll plot the de-orbit to land in a specific spot in the Southern Pacific Ocean. But even if they don't, they're small and not designed to survive re-entry.

We have computers tracking and radar to check out orbit changes, and people around the world are watching them. This is actually what 'Space Force' does: It tracks this debris, tracking stuff down to the size of a wrench.
https://spacenews.com/u-s-space-command-announces-improvements-in-space-debris-tracking/

-Crissa
 

Diehard

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And these satellites will fall down in just a couple years without their guidance working. Usually they'll plot the de-orbit to land in a specific spot in the Southern Pacific Ocean. But even if they don't, they're small and not designed to survive re-entry.

https://spacenews.com/u-s-space-command-announces-improvements-in-space-debris-tracking/

-Crissa
cool stuff. I can get into this. I wouldn’t want to the dolphin or the fat dude on a cruise ship that get hit over the head with that thing. Mighty impressive. I still am not over how GPS works. Knowing how these things work doesn’t make it any less magical to me.
 

LoPro

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Not sure if this completely answers your questions but I stumbled upon this while looking and thought it was really cool.

http://stuffin.space/
Wow, to aliens earth really looks like a COVID virus in turbo mode. Explains why they’re so secretive and careful when seldom visiting 😀
 

Crissa

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The first GPS guide stars were installed in the basement of the building across from where my spouse worked at Stanford.

They've leveled and rebuilt that building now, but it was a fascinating collection of experiments and tools dating back to the 50s; every time they had a new project they'd push things aside and put up temporary walls for the new lab space. So it was a literal maze of halls filled with stuff, some rooms you could see into, but didn't have any doors! Total nonsense.

When it was being decommissioned, we ended up with a cot that said, Heisenberg may have slept here. Alas, we lost it in a move since ^-^

-Crissa
 

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