SpaceX wants to bring its Starlink satellites to lower altitude, competition dissents

Starlink satellite orbiting space depiction

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, two of the planet’s wealthiest people, are locked in a spat once again. This time, over a concern with SpaceX’s proposition, to lower Starlink’s altitude from the orbit.

SpaceX made history when it successfully brought its internet-providing satellites into space in 2019. Designed to provide a superior space-based internet than existing services from other companies, Starlink’s satellites were launched at low Earth orbit. Which, at merely 550 kilometers from the Earth’s surface, makes for a far closer distance than others at 35,000 kilometers.

Where distance plays a major role in the quality of the internet due to latency issues, low altitude implies better service to consumers. SpaceX is taking advantage of the idea by appealing to the FCC to allow its orbiting satellites to go lower than originally planned.

Competition Disagrees

But the competition is not as lenient towards the idea, including especially the rising competitor Amazon. Which, through the Kuiper Systems, aspires to bring internet service to people from the fringe areas of our planet from space. Although, it is yet to bring the essential hardware for the feat into orbit.

The Jeff Bezos-founded and -owned company disagrees, citing SpaceX’s move as a means towards “suppressing the competition.”

In a statement relayed to CNBC, an Amazon spokesman explains their side of the argument. In particular, how the Kuiper Systems was made in great consideration of Starlink, according to its original design. Which infers potential repercussion involving a risk for space collision and interference in radio transmissions to and from consumers, if deviated from.

For Better Quality Service

For its part, SpaceX itself sees its contender’s reaction as a way of “hamstringing” its effort to a better service to its consumers. Consequently, compelling the company CEO to bring his sentiments to Twitter with an accusation against Amazon.

David Goldman, SpaceX director, even has his own tweet regarding the matter. Essentially calling on Amazon’s protest as “misleading” and an “attempt to stifle competition.”

To date, SpaceX has already brought in excess of 1000 orbiters into space. Still a small number in comparison to the 42,000 satellites which the company hopes to bring into orbit soon.

SpaceX also broke a world record by releasing 143 satellites from a single rocket last Sunday.

Already in operation, Starlink sees massive adoption in many parts of the globe. The UK, for one, being a recent addition.

Image used courtesy of The Tesla Space/YouTube Screenshot

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