Elon Musk’s SpaceX calls out Amazon in latest spat over Starlink: ‘Despite its theatrics, Amazon does not identify a single fact, figure, or scintilla of data that SpaceX omitted from its application’

Jeff Bezos Elon Musk
Jeff Bezos (left) and Elon Musk.

  • SpaceX responded on Thursday to Amazon’s latest jab over its plans to expand Starlink.
  • The previous day, Amazon took aim at Elon Musk, saying the CEO believes “rules are for other people.”
  • The letter is one of five heated exchanges between the two companies over the satellite system.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In the latest in a series of spats between Elon Musk’s and Jeff Bezos’ companies, SpaceX called Amazon out for its “theatrics” and “gamesmanship” in its complaints against Starlink Gen2.

“As usual, Amazon tries to prevent a fair review on the merits by using procedural gamesmanship,” SpaceX said in its letter to the Federal Communications Commission. “Despite its theatrics, Amazon does not identify a single fact, figure or scintilla of data that SpaceX omitted from its application.”

SpaceX’s response comes on the heels of a fiery letter from Amazon on Wednesday. The letter was Amazon’s most recent installment in a series of five exchanges from the two companies to the FCC discussing SpaceX’s plans to extend its Starlink satellite network.

In its letter, Amazon targeted Musk, saying the SpaceX CEO and his companies believe “rules are for other people.” The letter accused SpaceX of distracting from the real issue – the fact that the company had not narrowed its Starlink Gen2 proposal down to one option – and focusing on personal attacks against Amazon and Bezos instead. Amazon highlighted Musk’s propensity to tweet about company issues.

Last week, Musk said on Twitter that suing SpaceX was Bezos’ “full-time job.” At the time, SpaceX said that lawsuits from Bezos’ companies, including Amazon and Blue Origin, had “become a bigger bottleneck than the technology,” pointing out that the companies had filed complaints against SpaceX roughly every 16 days this year.

In its letter dated Thursday, SpaceX urged the FCC to focus on the merits of its proposal and criticized Amazon for what it described as a lack of progress on its own satellite system.

“Another week, another objection from Amazon against its competitor, yet still no sign of progress on Amazon’s own long-rumored satellite system,” SpaceX said.

Starlink is part of Musk’s vision to build an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites that would deliver high-speed internet to customers anywhere on the planet. Amazon’s satellite-internet subsidiary – Kuiper Systems – has a similar vision, but is expected to take about a decade to fully deploy its planned 3,236 satellites. While the Starlink service is still in beta, the company has over 100,000 users in 14 countries so far. SpaceX has launched 1,740 Starlink satellites to date, and its second generation project plans to have nearly 30,000 satellites in total.

Amazon’s latest complaint against SpaceX is one of many filed by companies affiliated with Bezos. Blue Origin, a space company launched by the billionaire, has filed multiple protests against NASA’s decision to select SpaceX over Blue Origin for its project to put boots on the moon. Most recently, Blue Origin took the issue to federal court, calling the NASA decision “unfair” and essentially halting SpaceX’s work on the project.

Do you work for Blue Origin or SpaceX? Reach out to the reporter at gkay@insider.com from a non-work email.

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Blue Origin’s lawsuit against NASA and SpaceX was again delayed as the DOJ struggled to add page numbers to 1,700 case-related documents before deadline

starship moon human landing system
An illustration of SpaceX Starship human lander.

  • Blue Origin’s lawsuit against the US government and SpaceX was again delayed over technical issues.
  • Dept. of Justice lawyers on Friday asked for a four-day extension to paginate about 1,700 documents.
  • Delays in the case could affect the timeline for NASA’s planned Artemis moon missions.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A deadline in Blue Origin’s lawsuit against the US government and SpaceX was postponed again on Friday, as the government struggled to add page numbers to the “extremely voluminous” case documents.

A week ago, on August 27, the Department of Justice had asked for a one-week extension, saying it was having difficulty getting 7GB of case documents into a format that could be shared with the parties. The documents were to be transferred to DVDs.

On Friday, the DOJ filed another extension request, saying a new issue had cropped up with about 1,700 case documents, which now topped out at more than 16GB.

“The record is fully complete, arranged in tabs and subtabs, and fully indexed,” DOJ lawyers wrote in an extension request on Friday. “However, the process of applying page numbering to each page of the record is taking longer than anticipated, and will not be completed by the deadline.”

The DOJ asked to delay its administrative deadline for the documents by four days, giving government staff the long Labor Day weekend to complete their pagination. In the meantime, the DOJ said would send un-paginated DVDs of the documents to the parties as place-holders.

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.
Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Blue Origin, a space-tech company founded by Jeff Bezos, last month sued the US government after NASA awarded a rival company, SpaceX, a sole contract to build a moon-lander for NASA’s planned Artemis moon missions. NASA had said it planned to choose two companies but only chose one.

Delays in the lawsuit may further push back work on SpaceX’s contract. The work under that $2.9 billion contract had been put on hold in April, then restarted, then put on hold again.

NASA paused work SpaceX’s contract while the US Court of Federal Claims case moves forward, initially setting a restart date of November 1. Delays in the case could push the work stoppage back further.

Last week, DOJ attorneys proposed a new restart date of November 8, but it was unclear from the court filings if that date had been approved by NASA or the parties.

Adobe recently told Insider it was working directly with the DOJ to help with the government’s PDF issues.

“Adobe Acrobat supports combining most large files, but we regret that it created these challenges for the DOJ,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We’re engaging with them directly to support their unique needs so they are able to maintain the quality and integrity of the original content.”

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX says Jeff Bezos’ lawsuits have ‘become a bigger bottleneck than the technology’ as his companies have filed complaints roughly every 16 days this year

Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos (left) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk said Jeff Bezos has taken on suing SpaceX as his “full-time job.”
  • On Tuesday, SpaceX issued a response to a protest letter from Amazon designed to halt Starlink Gen2.
  • In the letter, SpaceX called Bezos’ lawsuits a massive “bottleneck” to the company’s progress.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The billionaires are at it again. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took aim at Jeff Bezos on Wednesday, as the two continue their increasingly competitive space race.

“Filing legal actions against SpaceX is *actually* his full-time job,” Musk tweeted about the Blue Origin executive, echoing an earlier tweet that referenced Bezos’ retirement as Amazon’s CEO.

The tweet comes a day after SpaceX issued a response to a protest letter from Amazon about SpaceX’s plans to expand its Starlink network of internet satellites.

In the letter to the FCC, SpaceX called Amazon’s request a “continuation of efforts by the Amazon family of companies to hinder competitors to compensate for Amazon’s failure to make progress of its own.”

Amazon’s initial letter called for the FCC to require SpaceX to submit a new proposal because its proposal offered two options for how it would expand its satellite system, instead of one.

Starlink is part of Musk’s vision to build an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites that would deliver high-speed internet to customers anywhere on the planet. Amazon’s satellite-internet subsidiary – Kuiper Systems – has a similar vision, but is expected to take about a decade to fully deploy its planned 3,236 satellites. While the Starlink service is still in beta, the company has over 100,000 users in 14 countries so far. SpaceX has launched 1,740 Starlink satellites to date, and its second generation project plans to have nearly 30,000 satellites in total.

The SpaceX letter pointed out that Bezos’ companies including Amazon and Blue Origin have averaged about one complaint every 16 days over the past year. It said that the lawsuit’s have “become a bigger bottleneck than the technology,” harking back to Bezos’ own words regarding the impact of regulatory issues like lawsuits and protests on the progress of his space company, Blue Origin.

The letter also made reference to efforts that Blue Origin has made to halt SpaceX’s progress on a contract with NASA for a lunar-landing system.

The company has filed multiple protests against NASA’s decision to select SpaceX over Blue Origin for its project to put boots on the moon. Most recently, Bezos’ company took the issue to federal court, calling the NASA decision “unfair” and essentially halting SpaceX’s work on the project.

SpaceX also said Amazon has been more focused on slowing down SpaceX than improving its own satellite project, pointing out that it needs to address issues related to orbital debris and radiofrequency interference before it can deploy its own satellite.

It’s not the first time Musk has sparred with Bezos over Twitter. Last week, Musk said Bezos retired as CEO of Amazon to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX.

When Bezos initially complained about the NASA decision for its lunar landing project Musk tweeted, “Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol.”

“If lobbying and lawyers could get u to orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto rn,” he said.

Spokespeople from Amazon and SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Do you work for Blue Origin or SpaceX? Reach out to the reporter at gkay@insider.com

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Elon Musk said Jeff Bezos retired from the helm of Amazon ‘to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX.’ It’s the latest in a 15-year feud between 2 of the world’s richest men.

BI Graphics Jeff Bezos vs Elon Musk
Elon Musk, left, and Jeff Bezos.

  • Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the two richest people in the world, have been rivals for 15 years.
  • Bezos’ companies have recently filed protests and lawsuits over SpaceX’s business practices.
  • Musk has called Bezos a copycat and made digs about his rocket company, Blue Origin.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Over the last 15 years, two of the world’s most high-profile CEOs, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, have been engaged in a simmering rivalry.

The two execs have sparred over their respective space ambitions – Musk runs SpaceX, while Bezos owns Blue Origin – but it hasn’t stopped there: Musk has called Bezos a copycat over Amazon’s satellite plans and criticized the company’s business practices. In return, both Amazon and Blue Origin have filed formal protests and lawsuits about issues that concern SpaceX.

Musk and Bezos are two of the most powerful executives in the world. Bezos is currently the wealthiest living person and just stepped down from running Amazon’s sprawling empire – at the same time, he’s becoming more involved than ever in Blue Origin, even recently taking a ride on one of his own rockets. For his part, Musk is a dual CEO, manning the ship at both Tesla and SpaceX.

Over the years, their not-so-subtle rivalry has even given way to Twitter spats and name-calling – and things only seem to be escalating.

Here’s how Musk’s and Bezos’ rivalry began and everything that’s happened since.

Back in the early 2000s, Jeff Bezos wasn’t yet the titan he is today.

jeff bezos young 2000

Bezos had launched Amazon five years prior, and the company had gone public in 1997. But Amazon wasn’t yet the powerhouse it would become — it was years before the company would launch Prime, start its own streaming service, or create its cloud infrastructure service, Amazon Web Services.

But Bezos had always been interested in space. He told the Miami Herald in 1982, after he graduated high school as valedictorian, that he wanted to create outer space colonies for millions of people.

As a result of that long-held interest in leaving Earth, Bezos launched Blue Origin in 2000, a new startup focused on human spaceflight. 

Elon Musk was already a millionaire several times over, but he hadn’t become CEO of Tesla yet.

peter thiel elon musk early paypal
Peter Thiel, left, and Elon Musk, right, pose for a 1999 story about their company, PayPal.

Around the time Bezos was launching Blue Origin, Musk had already sold Zip2, a startup he launched with his brother, Kimbal, to Compaq for roughly $300 million. Musk was in the process of building PayPal, while would later be sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. 

Musk made about $160 million off the PayPal sale and used that money to launch SpaceX in 2002. 

“In the beginning, I actually wouldn’t even let my friends invest because everyone would lose their money,” Musk said during an interview at South by Southwest in 2018. “I thought I’d rather lose my own money.”

The Musk-Bezos rivalry appears to date back to 2004 when the two CEOs met for dinner.

jeff bezos 2000

By 2004, both Blue Origin and SpaceX were still in their infancy — neither company had completed any launches yet.

But that didn’t stop a rivalry from heating up: When the two met to discuss their respective reusable rocket ambitions it apparently did not go well. 

“I actually did my best to give good advice, which he largely ignored,” Musk said after the meeting, according to Christian Davenport’s book, “The Space Barons.”

Earlier this year, Trung Phan, a writer for the business newsletter The Hustle, tweeted a photo of Musk and Bezos smiling and sitting in a restaurant. Phan said the photo was from 2004, meaning it may have been taken at that fateful dinner.

Musk responded to the photo, tweeting, “Wow, hard to believe that was 17 years ago!”

From 2004 onward, Musk and Bezos appeared to keep to themselves. But their rivalry continued in 2013 when things became contentious over leasing a NASA launchpad.

elon musk ignition conference 2013

In 2013, SpaceX tried to get exclusive use of a NASA launchpad. Blue Origin (along with SpaceX rival United Launch Alliance) filed a formal protest with the government to prevent SpaceX from using the pad — Bezos proposed converting it “into a commercial spaceport available to all launch companies.”

Musk called the move a “phony blocking tactic” and took another swipe at Blue Origin.

“[Blue Origin] has not yet succeeded in creating a reliable suborbital spacecraft, despite spending over 10 years in development,” Musk told Space News at the time. “If they do somehow show up in the next five years with a vehicle qualified to NASA’s human rating standards that can dock with the Space Station, which is what Pad 39A is meant to do, we will gladly accommodate their needs.”

“Frankly, I think we are more likely to discover unicorns dancing in the flame duct,” he added.

SpaceX eventually won the right to take over the pad

In 2014, the two companies got into a patent battle when Blue Origin was granted a patent for drone ships, which are used for landing rocket boosters. SpaceX petitioned to invalidate the patent.

SpaceX drone ship
Space X’s Falcon 9 aboard its landing platform ship.

Blue Origin’s ownership of the patent would mean SpaceX would need to pay to use the technology. SpaceX argued that the science in the patent was “old hat,” given that the concept of drone ships has been around for decades.

A judge sided with SpaceX, leading to Blue Origin withdrawing most of the claims in the patent.

In recent years, Musk and Bezos have been more public about their feud, taking their rivalry to Twitter.

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin

Both execs have seized on opportunities to take shots at the other, most often sniping at each other over reusable rockets. After Blue Origin successfully landed its New Shepard rocket in 2015, Bezos tweeted a video calling it “the rarest of beasts — a used rocket.” 

Musk responded, saying SpaceX had performed the feat three years prior. 

When SpaceX landed its Falcon 9 spacecraft, Bezos took the opportunity to needle Musk on Twitter.

 

The feud isn’t just about space ambitions, however. Musk has taken issue with Blue Origin’s hiring practices and has taunted Bezos in interviews.

elon musk spacex

Musk told his biographer, Ashlee Vance, that Blue Origin has repeatedly tried to snag talent away from SpaceX.

“Blue Origin does these surgical strikes on specialized talent offering like double their salaries,” Musk said in Vance’s 2015 biography. “I think it’s unnecessary and a bit rude.”

Musk also revealed that SpaceX set up an email filter for the words “blue” and “origin,” according to Space News.

When the BBC asked Musk about Bezos in 2016, he responded, “Jeff who?”

Musk is known for being outspoken on Twitter, and that has included jabs at Bezos.

elon musk
Elon Musk.

Musk has repeatedly and publicly called Bezos a “copycat” — once after Amazon announced its plan to launch internet-beaming satellites, and again when Amazon acquired self-driving-taxi company Zoox.

Musk poked at Bezos in 2019 after the unveiling of Blue Origin’s concept for a lunar-landing vehicle, called Blue Moon.

“Putting the word ‘Blue’ on a ball is questionable branding,” he tweeted.

Musk later mocked up a screenshot of a New York Times article that changed the name from “Blue Moon” to “Blue Balls.” 

“Oh stop teasing, Jeff 😉,” Musk wrote

For his part, Bezos has been less overt about his distaste for Musk and SpaceX, but he’s made veiled comments about his thoughts on the company’s plans.

jeff bezos blue origin blue moon

While Bezos has stopped short of calling out Musk directly, he has taken aim at Musk’s biggest ambition: colonizing Mars, the main goal of SpaceX. 

Bezos’ focus is on getting humans to the moon, and he’s described the idea of reaching Mars as “un-motivating.”

“Go live on the top of Mount Everest for a year first and see if you like it, because it’s a garden paradise compared to Mars,” Bezos said in 2019.

During his presentation for Blue Moon, Bezos referenced SpaceX’s Mars ambitions once again, titling a slide about Mars “FAR, FAR AWAY.”

In July, Musk appeared to make yet another dig at Bezos – this time about his age – in an interview with the New York Times.

Elon Musk

In a wide-ranging Times interview, Musk, 49, took the opportunity to comment on Blue Origin, appearing to imply that Jeff Bezos, 56, is too old and Blue Origin too slow to ever make real progress.  

“The rate of progress is too slow and the amount of years he has left is not enough, but I’m still glad he’s doing what he’s doing with Blue Origin,” Musk said. 

 

Though the pair’s main point of contention appears to be space, Musk has made other pointed remarks about Amazon, recently calling the company a monopoly.

elon musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk leaves Manhattan federal court after a hearing on his fraud settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in New York City, U.S. April 4, 2019.

After Amazon’s publishing service refused to publish a book about the coronavirus by writer Alex Berenson, Musk tweeted at Bezos that the situation was “insane” and called for Amazon to be broken up. 

Musk’s comments were in response to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service refusing to publish Berenson’s book titled “Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns.” Berenson tweeted a screenshot of an email he says he received from Amazon and said the company “censored” his book. The screenshot appeared to show the publishing division saying the book does not comply with its guidelines.

Amazon later told Business Insider the book was removed in error and would be reinstated.  

Last spring, Blue Origin and SpaceX were both asked to submit designs for lunar landers to NASA for a mission to return humans to the moon by 2024.

Jeff Bezos Elon Musk
Jeff Bezos (left) and Elon Musk.

Along with a third company, Dynetics, Bezos’ and Musk’s companies were asked to compete for a multibillion-dollar contract with NASA.

All three companies had 10 months to work on their designs for a mission known as Artemis — the mission would be the first time a manned spacecraft has been sent to the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. 

It’s possible Bezos has softened his stance on SpaceX, however: After the rocket company conducted a test of its Starship spacecraft in December, Bezos publicly complimented the company for its ambitious attempt.

elon musk spacex starship sn8 serial number 8 steel rocket ship prototype boca chica south texas sunset sunrise getty 4x3
SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, is building and launching Starship prototypes in Boca Chica, Texas.

SpaceX launched the rocket thousands of feet in the air during during a 7-minute test flight, but the rocket exploded during landing.

Still, the audacious test garnered praise from Musk’s space rival, Bezos. 

“Anybody who knows how hard this stuff is is impressed by today’s Starship test,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post, accompanied by a low-resolution photo of the rocket. “Big congrats to the whole @SpaceX team. I’m confident they’ll be back at it soon.”

A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos)

 

In January, Musk overtook Bezos to become the richest person in the world, but Bezos has since regained the top spot.

elon musk spacex launch.JPG

Tesla hit all-time highs in the stock market in recent weeks, gradually nudging Musk’s wealth skyward — first, past Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, and then, past Bezos. 

Bezos has since regained the lead with a net worth of $187 billion

Musk is third, after LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, with a fortune worth $166 billion

In April, NASA announced that SpaceX is the sole recipient of the contract for landing humans on the moon, worth $2.9 billion. The decision infuriated Blue Origin, which is now challenging NASA’s decision.

Jeff Bezos

According to The New York Times, Blue Origin filed a 50-page protest with the Government Accountability Office, challenging NASA’s decision as “flawed.”

NASA had initially said it would award the contract to two companies, but budget concerns and a lack of Congressional funding meant it could only choose SpaceX.

Blue Origin told CNBC that NASA’s decision was unfair because it had “moved the goalposts at the last minute” and had negotiated a proposed price with SpaceX, but not with Blue Origin. 

Musk responded to Blue Origin’s protests with a thinly veiled jab about male anatomy.

Elon Musk Starship
Elon Musk, left, and SpaceX’s Starship rocket.

In response to The New York Times report, Musk tweeted: “Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol.”

He followed the tweet up with the photoshopped image of Blue Origin’s lunar lander that changed the name from “Blue Moon” to “Blue Balls.” 

Bezos announced in June that he’d be making a major commitment to the future of Blue Origin: By heading to space aboard one of his own spacecrafts.

Four members of Blue Origin’s New Shepard crew in blue flight outfits sitting in front of the shuttle's capsule.
From left: Oliver Daemen, Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, and Wally Funk after they flew into space on July 20, 2021.

On July 20, Bezos and his younger brother, Mark, took an 11-minute flight aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft. The flight sent the crew 62 miles above the Earth’s surface before landing safely back on the ground. 

“Ever since I was 5 years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos said in a video announcing the trip posted on Instagram. “I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure — it’s a big deal for me.” 

The short trip was Blue Origin’s first human flight — SpaceX launched its first human passengers into orbit in May 2020. While it’s likely Musk could have gone to space himself by now, the trip would carry more risk for his business dealings, given that he’s also the CEO of a public company. Bezos, on the other hand, stepped down as CEO of Amazon on July 5, two weeks before his visit to space. 

But it seems that in Musk’s view, Bezos’ flight wasn’t all that impressive: He poked fun at the fact that the voyage was sub-orbital on Twitter.

GettyImages 1229892852
Elon Musk.

Days before Bezos’ trip to space, a Twitter user created a meme that shows Bezos and Musk talking about the flight using a popular meme format where their faces superimposed onto Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala from “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack Of The Clones.”

The meme was making fun of the fact that Bezos’ flight will take him to the edge of space rather than blasting him into orbit 

In response, Musk tweeted: “haha.” 

 

After Blue Origin criticized NASA again for awarding the lunar lander contract to SpaceX, Musk mocked Blue Origin’s lunar lander.

Jeff Bezos gesturing towards a space lander, which looks like an orb with four legs.
Jeff Bezos unveiling the “Blue Moon” lunar lander on May 9, 2019.

Musk tweeted a photo of Blue Origin’s lunar lander concept, which showed the middle portion looking deflated. 

“Somehow, this wasn’t convincing…” he wrote. 

 

In August, Blue Origin filed a lawsuit against NASA over the $2.9 billion contract, which resulted in NASA agreeing to pause work on the contract.

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos wears a pair of reflective aviation glasses under a cowboy hat
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos with aviation glasses that belonged to Amelia Earhart.

The suit, which was filed in the US Court of Federal Claims, challenges “NASA’s unlawful and improper evaluation of proposals” that were submitted for its Human Landing System Program. 

“We firmly believe that the issues identified in this procurement and its outcomes must be addressed to restore fairness, create competition, and ensure a safe return to the Moon for America,” a Blue Origin spokesperson told Insider. 

NASA has agreed to press pause on the contract until November 1.

Also in August, an Amazon subsidiary filed a protest with the Federal Communications Commission over SpaceX’s plans for more Starlink internet satellites, prompting a fiery response from Musk.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wears a black and white bandana around his neck in front a light blue sky.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Amazon’s own satellite company, Project Kuiper, filed the protest letter, telling the FCC that SpaceX broke its rules. The letter is not a lawsuit.

But it sparked a response from Musk, who made a jab at Bezos on Twitter.

“Turns out Besos retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX …” Musk tweeted, misspelling Bezos’ name. 

 

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Blue Origin’s lawsuit against the US government is being delayed for a week, partly because the DOJ had trouble converting documents into PDFs

Jeff Bezos looks into distance in front of Blue Origin rocket
Jeff Bezos.

  • Blue Origin’s lawsuit against the US government and SpaceX has been delayed over PDF problems.
  • Department of Justice attorneys said the administrative record included more than 7GB of documents.
  • Uploading large batches “brings additional opportunity for the system to crash,” DOJ lawyers said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The route to the moon has been temporarily blocked by a stack of troublesome PDFs.

A federal judge on Friday granted a week-long extension in the lawsuit brought by Blue Origin against SpaceX and the US government.

This occurred, in part, because PDFs and other related documents were too large for the court system to handle.

More than 7GB of data were part of the administrative record in the case, the government said in a filing in US Court of Federal Claims on Friday. It said it would have to transfer the documents to DVDs instead of uploading them to the court’s filing system.

“Good cause exists to grant this motion,” attorneys from the Department of Justice wrote. “The administrative record in this case is extraordinarily voluminous, consisting of hundreds of individual documents and over seven gigabytes of data.”

Both Blue Origin and SpaceX agreed to the extension, the government’s filing said.

In its request for more time, the government said it was having difficulty with the data and documents for a few reasons. Part of the difficulty was that the US Court of Federal Claims, like other courts, limited the size of files that can be uploaded to its online system to 50 MB.

But it wasn’t just the size of the data that would be an issue, the government said.

In their request, the DOJ attorneys said the documents included hundreds of PDFs, along with many other types of files that would be difficult to convert to PDFs. But even if they were able to convert them all into PDFs, they’d then have to upload “several hundred” separate documents to the court system.

Another solution was to combine the individual documents into batches of 50 MB PDFs using Adobe Acrobat software, the DOJ said. That would reduce the number of uploads, but each of those larger uploads “brings additional opportunity for the system to crash,” DOJ lawyers said.

“Thus, although Acrobat allows the user to split a PDF into smaller files of a specified size, it cannot combine several hundred files at one time without crashing,” the DOJ said. “We have tried several different ways to create 50-megabyte files for more efficient filing, all without success thus far.”

Insider reached out to Adobe for comment.

In asking for an extension to file, DOJ attorneys also sought to extend the pause on NASA’s moon-lander contract with SpaceX. The work under that $2.9 billion contract had been put on hold in April, then restarted, then put on hold again.

The original schedule, filed on August 19, had marked November 1 as the end of the current pause. Friday’s revised schedule omitted the date altogether, although DOJ attorneys had included a proposed November 8 restart in their proposed new schedule.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elon Musk says Jeff Bezos ‘retired to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX’ after Amazon protested a Starlink expansion

Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos (left) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk said Jeff Bezos “retired to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX.”
  • His tweet comes after Amazon’s Kuiper filed a FCC protest letter about SpaceX’s Starlink network.
  • Bezos, Amazon’s founder and executive chairman, stepped down as CEO in July.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk on Friday took a jab at Jeff Bezos after an Amazon subsidiary protested against SpaceX’s plans for more Starlink satellites.

SpaceX CEO Musk tweeted that Bezos, Amazon’s founder and executive chairman, had “retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX.” Musk misspelled Bezos’ name as “Besos” in the tweet.

Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO in July.

Musk’s tweet was in response to an article about Amazon’s Kuiper, a satellite-internet subsidiary, on Wednesday filing a protest letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against SpaceX’s plans to expand its Starlink network of internet satellites.

SpaceX’s proposed plans for a second generation of Starlink would send nearly 30,000 satellites into orbit, adding to its 1,740 satellites already in space.

Kuiper said in the letter that SpaceX broke the rules by proposing two configurations for the satellite constellation, rather than just one. SpaceX had said that the second proposal was a backup, in case the FCC rejected the first.

“SpaceX’s novel approach of applying for two mutually exclusive configurations is at odds with both the Commission’s rules and public policy,” Mariah Dodson Shuman, Kuiper’s corporate counsel, wrote in the FCC letter.

The letter is not a lawsuit.

This isn’t the first time one of Bezos’ companies has argued against SpaceX.

Blue Origin, Bezos’ rocket company, has filed a complaint against NASA and sued the agency over awarding SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to send humans to the moon. NASA has put SpaceX’s contract on pause so it can assess the suit.

The two billionaires have been known for digging at one another in the past. Musk has called Bezos a copycat and mocked Blue Origin’s space flights and moon lander.

After SpaceX won the NASA contract, Blue Origin posted infographics on its website that appeared to cherry pick comparison between its own Blue Moon lunar lander and SpaceX’s “immensely complex and high risk” Starship, Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnsen reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Blue Origin lost at least 17 top staffers weeks after SpaceX was awarded the $2.9 billion NASA moon-lander contract, reports say

Blue Origin
A team led by Blue Origin was one of three bidders for the lunar contract.

At least 17 top staffers at Blue Origin left the company this year, with many departing in the weeks after founder Jeff Bezos flew into space, CNBC reported.

The news follows a report by Insider’s Kate Duffy on Tuesday, which revealed that a lead engineer left to join Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

As CNBC reported, this was not the only high-level departure. Many other engineers and key leaders have also left, it said.

Several of those departing had been part of the team that tried to land a high-profile NASA lunar contract, the outlet said.

Fox Business said it confirmed the departure of about a dozen employees.

Bezos’ space company has grown rapidly in recent years, with about 1,500 employees joining since the beginning of 2020, a spokesperson told CNBC. They said: “In fact, we’ve grown by nearly a factor of four over the past three years.”

The departures were noteworthy because of their timing, coming after NASA in April announced that SpaceX would be awarded a $2.9 billion contract for a moon lander for the Artemis missions, reports said.

During the bidding process for the Artemis contract, NASA said it expected to choose two partners, but it chose to award a single contract. A team led by Blue Origin was one of three bidders.

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos wears a pair of reflective aviation glasses under a cowboy hat
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos with aviation glasses that belonged to Amelia Earhart.

Blue Origin in April filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office. The federal watchdog in July rejected its protest.

Blue Origin earlier this month said it was suing NASA in federal claims court, saying in its complaint that the agency didn’t properly evaluate the proposals. NASA last week paused work on the moon-landing contract until November.

Bezos went to space in July, marking his company’s first crewed space flight. After his trip, Blue Origin paid $10,000 bonuses to employees, CNBC reported.

Insider has reached out to Blue Origin for comment.

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A lead engineer at Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has left to join Elon Musk’s SpaceX. He was working on Blue Origin’s moon lander.

Jeff Bezos Elon Musk
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

  • A top engineer at Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is leaving to join Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
  • Nitin Arora was working on Blue Origin’s moon lander.
  • It comes after NASA picked SpaceX, and not Blue Origin, for a major moon-landing contract.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A lead engineer on Blue Origin’s moon lander project is leaving to join SpaceX.

It follows Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, losing out to Elon Musk’s SpaceX on a $2.9 billion NASA contract to take humans to the moon.

Nitin Arora on Monday announced in a LinkedIn post that he was leaving Blue Origin after nearly three years at the company.

Arora was working on Blue Origin’s lunar lander, designed to carry different payloads to the moon’s surface.

“Friday (August 13th) was my last day at Blue Origin,” Arora wrote in the post. “It was one hell of a ride working on the lunar program. Really honored that I got a chance to work with and lead incredibly smart, passionate people over last three years … Next stop, SpaceX!”

Blue Origin put forward its lunar lander for a NASA contract to take humans back to the moon by 2024. The agency initially said it would choose two winners out of SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics – but instead it only selected SpaceX.

Read more: UBS lays out the 7 space stocks set to lift off in a sector it says will double in size to $900 billion by 2030 – including 1 that could soar by 40%

On Monday, Blue Origin sued NASA over its decision. A Blue Origin spokesperson said in a statement to Insider that the company wanted to “remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA’s Human Landing System.”

Before taking NASA to court, Blue Origin filed a protest in April, offered to cover up to $2 billion for the first two years of production of a moon lander, and infographics on its website describing SpaceX’s Starship as “immensely complex and high risk.” The graphics appeared to cherry-pick details, Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnsen reported.

Elon Musk’s company is set to use Starship to fly astronauts to the moon under NASA’s contract.

It was unclear from Arora’s post whether he’ll be working on Starship. Insider asked Arora for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Here’s why government officials rejected Jeff Bezos’ claims of ‘unfair’ treatment and awarded a NASA contract to SpaceX over Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos Elon Musk space
  • The GAO released a takedown of Jeff Bezos’ complaints against NASA’s selection of SpaceX.
  • Blue Origin accused NASA of favoritism toward Elon Musk’s company.
  • The GAO report found that SpaceX’s design beat out Blue Origin’s proposal at every level.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

SpaceX was selected over Blue Origin for a NASA contract to take humans back to the moon, and a new report from government officials highlights exactly why.

Last month, Jeff Bezos filed a complaint against NASA, calling its decision to select SpaceX for its Human Landing System Program “unfair.” Bezos even offered to cover up to $2 billion in costs for the mission to help Blue Origin compete with SpaceX’s $2.9 billion offer, but it was not enough to sway NASA.

When SpaceX was chosen in April it came as a surprise, as NASA had originally selected three companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics) to create proposals for a lunar landing system that could bring astronauts back to the moon by 2024. When the competition was announced, NASA had indicated that it would choose two proposals but ended up leaving Blue Origin and Dynetics in a lurch.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed Bezos’ complaint, which was filed alongside Dynetics and rejected the protest. In a public report, the GAO laid out why Elon Musk’s company was chosen over Blue Origin.

Here are a few key responses from the GAO takedown of Bezos’ complaints against NASA:

Blue Origin hinged its complaint around the fact that NASA had promised to select two companies

Bezos said in a letter following the complaint that NASA risked compromising the mission by eliminating the element of “competition.”

In response, the GAO pointed to NASA’s limited funds for the mission. The group even took a stab at Blue Origin, saying NASA was not “required” to choose an applicant whose proposal NASA did not find attractive. In other words, NASA was not forced to take on two companies if it only found one company up to par.

The GAO then broke down how SpaceX’s proposal compared to Blue Origin based on NASA’s analysis. Each proposal was graded on technology, management, and price. The technical aspects were found to be most important in NASA’s analysis, followed by price, and management.

NASA graded each company’s proposal based on whether its strengths outweighed its weaknesses, grading each level of weakness or strength based on a scale of how much it would impact the overall mission. For example, both SpaceX and Blue Origin’s communication systems were graded as weak, but Blue Origin’s received a “significant weakness” for having less systems that were effective.

“Even assuming a comparative analysis was required, SpaceX’s proposal appeared to be the highest-rated under each of the three enumerated evaluation criteria as well as the lowest priced,” the GAO said.

Despite Bezos’ offer to lower Blue Origin’s $5.9 billion contract and take on $2 billion out-of-pocket, the GAO said NASA had found it “implausible” that the company could reduce its price without significantly changing its design.

Blue Origin complained the decision showed favoritism to SpaceX

Bezos said NASA had unfairly evaluated Blue Origin. For example, the company argued that it was not specified that the vehicle should be able to land in the dark. The GAO contended that NASA was not required to lay out all minute details, and Blue Origin should take into account the conditions on the moon or space itself – which is dark.

Blue Origin also raised issue with the fact that SpaceX received extra points for developing a system that focused on the health and safety of the crew – an objective that NASA had not made a requirement. The GAO said NASA had the freedom to choose which design function to prioritize.

Here’s how the two companies’ proposals stacked up, according to NASA

SpaceX

  1. Technical: 3 significant strengths; 10 strengths; 6 weaknesses; and 1 significant weakness
  2. Price: $2.9 billion
  3. Management: 2 significant strengths; 3 strengths; and 2 weaknesses

Blue Origin

  1. Technical: 13 strengths; 14 weaknesses; and 2 significant weaknesses
  2. Price: $5.9 billion
  3. Management: 1 significant strength; 2 strengths; and 6 weaknesses
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Elon Musk says SpaceX’s moon lander will probably be ready before 2024, as NASA pays $300 million toward Artemis contract

An illustration of the SpaceX Starship human lander design on the moon.
An illustration of the SpaceX Starship human lander.

  • SpaceX founder Elon Musk said his company’s lunar lander is expected to be ready before 2024.
  • “Probably sooner,” Musk said on Twitter, when asked about the company’s design timeline.
  • NASA awarded SpaceX a $2.89 billion contract to help the agency return humans to the moon.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Saturday said he expects to have the Starship human lander ready for a moon mission before 2024.

“Probably sooner,” Musk said on Twitter when asked about the company’s design timeline.

NASA has said 2024 was the “most ambitious date possible” for a return to the moon.

Musk’s estimate marked the latest in a series of upbeat predictions from the billionaire, who has often said he’ll use his fortune to make life “multiplanetary.”

Last week, when it was revealed that NASA was behind schedule on spacesuit development, and that they might not be ready until 2025, Musk said: “SpaceX could do it if need be.”

SpaceX in April won a $2.89 billion NASA contract to design and build a lunar lander. The company’s proposal won over two rival bidders, including a team led by Blue Origin, a private space company founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Blue Origin protested, and the contract was suspended pending a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

On July 30, the GAO denied Blue Origin’s protest. The same day, Musk’s SpaceX was handed another $300 million to move its project along, according to records first reported by CNBC’s Michael Sheetz on Twitter on Saturday. The tweet by Sheetz started a thread that led to Musk’s prediction that SpaceX’s lander would be ready before 2024.

NASA on July 30 said the GAO’s decision allowed SpaceX and the agency to nail down a timeline for the first crewed mission to the moon in more than 50 years. NASA has said it hopes to test crewed Artemis flights by 2023, with an initial moon landing in 2024.

In its Artemis overview, the agency said “2024 is not an arbitrary date. It is the most ambitious date possible, and our success at the Moon, and later, at Mars, will be grounded in our national goals and robust capabilities.”

That would be followed by “sustainable lunar exploration in the mid to late 2020s,” the agency said.

The founders of Blue Origin and SpaceX have traded barbs over designs and contracts. Musk last week mocked a photo of a prototype of Blue Moon, the rival company’s moon lander.

Read the original article on Business Insider