Advanced Television

Kuiper, SpaceX battle over deployment

March 13, 2024

By Chris Forrester

Project Kuiper is planning its own mega-constellation and has already raised concerns about SpaceX’s proposed occupation of the 604 and 614 kms orbits.

Amazon’s Project Kuiper has written to the FCC complaining about a SpaceX request to adjust the altitude of 7,500 satellites previously authorised to operate at altitudes of 525, 530 and 535 kms, and asking the FCC to establish a clear approval process despite SpaceX’s request for a speedy decision.

“At a minimum, the Commission should ensure that interested parties have a reasonable opportunity to comment on SpaceX’s proposed changes. In this way, the Commission can ensure full consideration of the issues raised by new altitudes, inclinations, and additional satellites,” states Project Kuiper.

“Amazon recognises the need for speed and flexibility in licensing NGSO systems,” the letter adds. “Plans change, technology advances, and designs evolve to provide ever-improving service and implement new measures to improve space safety. Amazon is confident that the Commission and Space Bureau will strike the right balance between speed and care.”

SpaceX responded within hours, saying: “Amazon disingenuously suggests it needs more time to comment on SpaceX’s pending application, even after that application has been available for comment for years. In fact, dozens of parties submitted over 100 pleadings in response to SpaceX’s application. Indeed, Amazon itself already filed hundreds of pages against SpaceX, concocting elaborate methods to hamstring SpaceX’s ability to connect Americans, while working behind the scenes to avoid the same treatment for Amazon’s own hypothetical system. But Amazon never raised any concern with respect to the lower-altitude shells SpaceX is requesting to use.”

“Recognising that its argument fails the straight-face test, Amazon resorts to mischaracteriing SpaceX’s request as involving changes to its original application. To be clear: SpaceX does not seek any changes to its amended application—no new altitudes, inclinations, or additional satellites,” states SpaceX.

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