Elon Musk trolls Jeff Bezos over lawsuit targeting Starlink

This time it's Musk's broadband internet satellites that have drawn a complaint.
This time it's Musk's broadband internet satellites that have drawn a complaint. Photo credit: Getty Images

The ongoing battle between billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos for space supremacy shows no signs of abating as yet another complaint has been lodged.

Amazon founder Bezos's Blue Origin company has already sued to overturn a decision by NASA to award Musk's SpaceX the sole contract to build a lunar lander.

That came after Blue Origin offered a US$2 billion discount to the space agency to help change its decision to award the multi-billion dollar deal to SpaceX.

That offer was turned down, causing the company to take it to court. That has forced a halt on the lander programme until at least November 1.

Now it's the Tesla founder's Starlink satellites that are the subject of the richest man in the world's ire after an Amazon subsidiary complained to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about plans to launch more Starlink satellites.

That has drawn a barb from Musk, who replied to a tweet about the story saying "turns out Besos retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX. [sic]"

Starlink, which provides low latency broadband internet to around 90,000 customers - including some in Aotearoa - already has 1740 satellites in space.

And it told the FCC in July it wanted to launch 30,000 second generation satellites to make the service better. To do so, it proposed two configurations for its network, with only one being used and the second as a backup.

But Amazon's Project Kuiper, which is yet to launch any satellites, protested saying SpaceX broke the FCC's rules.

"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.

"Accordingly, 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."

Meanwhile, it's been revealed that the lawsuit over the NASA lunar lander was delayed for a week - due to PDF files.

A US federal judge granted the Department of Justice (DOJ) a week-long extension because the court system only allows files up to 50MB in size and that was a problem with more than 7 GB of data relating to the case.

"We have tried several different ways to create 50-megabyte files for more efficient filing, all without success thus far," the DOJ said.