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Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, World's Richest Men, Lock Horns Over Satellite Internet Projects

Elon Musk (left) and Jeff Bezos (right). (Image Credit: Reuters/ Altered by News18)

Elon Musk (left) and Jeff Bezos (right). (Image Credit: Reuters/ Altered by News18)

Elon Musk's SpaceX had recently asked the FCC for permission to operate Starlink satellites at a lower orbit than initially planned. On the other hand, Amazon's Jeff Bezos says that that the move would risk interference and collision with Amazon's Kuiper satellites.

The world's two richest men Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are in a deadlock against each other in terms of their satellite Internet ambitions. Elon Musk's SpaceX had recently asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to operate Starlink satellites at a lower orbit than initially planned. On the other hand, Amazon's Jeff Bezos says that that the move would risk interference and collision with Amazon's Kuiper satellites, which are also designed to facilitate Internet services from the space.

According to a report in Bloomberg, the dispute, meant to be confined to regulatory filings, has spilled into the public view in a spat that showcases the large personalities involved as billionaires chase their dreams in the sky. "It is SpaceX's proposed changes that would hamstring competition among satellite systems," Amazon said in a tweet on Tuesday, January 26. The Seattle-based giant said that it is clearly in SpaceX's interest to smother competition in the cradle if they can, but it is certainly not in the public's interest.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, in a response, said, "it does not serve the public to hamstring Starlink today for an Amazon satellite system that is at best several years away from operation."

Elon Musk's SpaceX has already launched more than 1,000 satellites for its Starlink internet service and is already signing up users for Starlink internet in the US, Canada, and the UK. Amazon, on the other hand, got permission from FCC to launch a fleet of 3,236 satellites last year.

According to the Bloomberg report, Amazon has earlier urged FCC to reject SpaceX's request to put satellites into a lower orbit. It said that this would put SpaceX satellites in the middle of the Kupier System.

SpaceX needs to ask for a lower orbit placement in order to allow faster internet as the signal doesn't travel as far. SpaceX told the FCC that having satellites closer to Earth reduced the risk of space debris because they would fall out of orbit more quickly than higher spacecrafts.

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