In a move that will undoubtedly ruffle Elon Musk’s feathers, Jeff Bezos is applying to launch roughly 3,200 low-orbit satellites, according to a report in Bloomberg.
The “Kiuper” project is expected to cost many billions of dollars, with the goal to provide fast and accessible broadband to the masses – precisely what Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink wants to do.
One of the most curious things about the filing is that it’s on behalf of Amazon rather than Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin. It would appear that Amazon sees a huge mainstream opportunity to take a slice of the global broadband market. Jeff Bezos has a take-no-prisoners approach to business, and this latest play is a classic example that no industry is safe from Amazon.
The Jeff Bezos-Elon Musk beef has been going on for some time, with most of the conflict focusing on each billionaire’s space travel plans. Musk frequently loves to throw barbs at Bezos, and when Amazon first floated their satellite idea a few months ago, he was quick to call the world’s richest man a copycat.
While we will never know who truly came up with this idea first, there is no question that SpaceX is further along in their plans. With 60 satellites currently in orbit, Musk is way ahead of Bezos, the latter of whom is still trying to gain regulatory approval. News recently broke that SpaceX has lost communication with three of its “Starlink” constellation satellites but is still broadly looks to have been a success.
If you are an Elon Musk fan looking for further evidence that Jeff Bezos is a copycat, look no further than one of the pair’s original spats. This argument centered around a reusable booster that both SpaceX and Blue Origin were testing. Though both men cited the subtle differences in their testing, to the layman, the projects did seem eerily similar.
With the friction between Musk and Bezos generating all the headlines, it’s easy to forget that Boeing filed to build a satellite constellation years ago. While that project has stalled, it demonstrates how much competition there will be to bring broadband to the masses. Virgin Group and SoftBank are also looking to launch their low-orbit satellites.
Amazon has more resources than practically any other corporate entity on the planet, and while Elon Musk’s spat with Jeff Bezos is humorous, the Tesla and SpaceX boss will no doubt be concerned about the e-commerce titan joining the line of big companies muscling in on his territory. For now, however, SpaceX is well ahead of the competition, and Musk will want to keep it that way.
Last modified: January 10, 2020 3:02 PM UTC