The battle between billionaire space race competitors Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos continues to escalate, with the SpaceX founder taking another jab at his rival over how the Amazon founder spends his time after stepping down as CEO.
In response to a tweet by CNBC's Michael Sheetz regarding SpaceX's response to Amazon's attempt to throw a wrench in SpaceX's second generation Starlink satellite program, Musk wrote of Bezos: "Filing legal actions against SpaceX is *actually* his full-time job."
Last week, Amazon subsidiary Kuiper Systems LLC – which is developing its own satellite system but none are yet in space – filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) days after SpaceX issued an amendment to its Gen2 Starlight system, which is set to launch another 30,000 satellites into orbit beyond the more than 1,700 the company already has in operation. Amazon is asking that the amendment be dismissed, arguing that it broke the FCC's own rules because it was incomplete.
In reaction to reporting on Amazon's filing, Musk tweeted Friday, "Turns out Besos (sic) retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX…"
Bezos officially left his position as CEO of Amazon in July. In mid-August, his space flight company Blue Origin filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging NASA's decision to award a $2.9 billion contract to competitor SpaceX for the agency's Human Landing System program. The move prompted NASA to temporarily table its work with SpaceX.
SpaceX has already sent astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station for NASA. Bezos was on Blue Origin's maiden rocket flight into orbital space in July.
SpaceX argued to the FCC in reaction to Kuiper Systems' claims that "Amazon’s recent missive is unfortunately only the latest in its continuing efforts to slow down competition, while neglecting to resolve the Commission’s concerns about Amazon’s own nongeostationary orbit ("NGSO") satellite system."