Amazon’s rejection of the Starlink amendment is a delaying tactic

SpaceX has defended its plans for a second-generation Starlink constellation against Amazon’s attempt to block them, calling it just an effort to delay competition.

Amazon argued in an Aug. 25 letter that the two configurations of nearly 30,000 follow-on satellites should be dismissed because they would comprise Gen 2 and thus violate FCC rules governing satellite systems with more than one plane and at least 750 satellites per plane . However, SpaceX argues this is merely part of due process: “This argument lacks merit as nothing about these new filings changes anything regarding how we will operate our business or use spectrum.”

Amazon said applying for more than one configuration also encourages speculative application behavior from future constellation operators. This doubles the technical efforts that other operators face to review interference and orbital debris concerns, according to Amazon, which is developing plans for a rival broadband megaconstellation through its Project Kuiper subsidiary.

In a letter sent to the FCC, SpaceX said Amazon’s delay tactics are meant as an attempt at compensation for its lack of progress. The company also mentioned that while it has already launched 1,700 satellites into orbit and is still working on addressing radio-frequency interference and orbital debris issues; Amazon currently hasn’t even tried launching their own constellation into space yet.

SpaceX is proposing two options for its next generation satellite system. Option one involves using the company’s heavy-lift Starship vehicle to deploy these satellites faster than option 2, which will continue to use their Falcon 9 rockets.

In July 2020, the FCC gave approval to project Kuiper’s plan for 3236 satellites so long as it shows how they will address concerns about radio interference and orbital debris.

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