Is the Race to the Moon being turned into a legal battle between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos?

Internal Space Race

Not only is the US deep into another space race, competing against China for a stake in Mars and the Moon, but inside the US there is also a space race within the recently developed private sector of space exploration. This, of course, is to be expected: as multiple private companies are competing for investor money and looking into creating a market for space tourism and colonization, they’ll also be competing for milestones, such as being the first to reach the Moon, Mars, to land people on them, these kinds of things.

However, with the stakes being high and nerves to their limits, the  peaceful technological competition can sometimes escalate into other kinds of conflicts. This time, fortunately, it’s not a full-scale war, but an important legal battle between the two main competitors: Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Let’s see what’s going on.

NASA technology

If you’ve been following the news on the space race, you probably know where all their technology came from. Unlike the first space race, the current contenders from the American side didn’t start from the ground up. Instead, they got a huge kick start by getting a lot of their technology from NASA and other aerospace companies, in the form of patents that expired, became public domain or were licensed, collaborations, as well as former and current NASA engineers.

And the reason is obvious: no need to reinvent the wheel. The US government has been investing into private space exploration and this is one of the ways that they do that, even while NASA is doing its own space exploration and research.

The dispute

However, as there are multiple companies involved in the race, sometimes the US government has to choose only one among them.

This time, NASA had to pick a company to partner with in order to develop new Moon landers, to send people to the moon for the first time since 1972. SpaceX and Blue Origin were competing for this contract for months, and in the end NASA picked SpaceX. After the decision, Blue Origin contested it, and upon hearing a “no” again, they sued.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time that they got into this kind of dispute. Back in 2013 they already clashed publicly over the exclusive use of a NASA launch pad, in which NASA also opted for SpaceX. Not soon after they also clashed over rights to a patent for landing rockets on the ocean, in which SpaceX was once again favored, and Blue Origin contested and lost.

SpaceX started first, so it’s no surprise that they’d end up being favored in these contracts. Still, Blue Origin has also been striving to catch up, and their newly-unveiled space tourism initiative may bring them some new life and turn the tides for them.

Outcomes

Right now, the organizations involved are locked in the dispute. Because the decision is being contested and the case is currently being analyzed by the Court of Federal Claims, NASA has halted all work on the project, meaning SpaceX did too, from the day the legal action started (19 August) until 1 November. Not to mention that it led to some funny Twitter discussions, in classic Musk style.

Of course, this is merely a setback. After the matter ends, research and development will continue as usual, whatever results might be. If the previous battles are any indication, it’s likely that SpaceX will come out victorious once again, but we’ll have to wait and see, as details on the case are being kept private.

Hopefully this doesn’t become a habit. While legal action is important to maintain fair ground among the companies, it should not get in the way of technological development, nor be used as a way to halt competition. With any luck the decisions coming from this will be able to calm the nerves of the parties involved.

SpaceX Starlink Satellites

How will SpaceX’s starlink change the world?

What is SpaceX’s Starlink?

Starlink is a growing constellation of orbital satellites launched by SpaceX to provide Internet access through satellites. These satellites will comprise thousands of satellites that will operate within Low Earth Orbit. Developmental Programs for launching SpaceX’s Starlink had begun in 2015, while the first test-flights were established in 2018.

Since its inception, SpaceX’s Starlink has launched over 1300 satellites and plans to send 60 more satellites this year. To date, 12000 satellites have been approved by the Federal Communication Commission and International Commission Union. The company aims to launch 42000 satellites by 2027.

Is SpaceX’s Starlink currently available?

Currently, SpaceX’s Starlink is in its initial stages. But it has delivered its services to six countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and New Zealand. It has rendered its services to more than 10,000 customers globally and began offering pre-orders at $99 for its initial beta services.

You can pre-book your orders, and a SpaceX kit will be delivered to your homes and get started with your private Internet satellite services.

How will SpaceX’s Starlink change the world?

SpaceX’s Starlink has several aims and objectives with which it hopes to change the world and create a positive impact. Here are some of the ways, how SpaceX’s Starlink will change the world:

  • Internet Access to underserved areas

 One of the most critical changes that SpaceX’s Starlink hopes to bring is to render Internet Services to the underserved areas. According to statistics, around 40% of the world population deal with Internet crises and cannot access Internet services in their areas. With SpaceX’s Starlink, under-developed regions of this world can also gain Internet access at an affordable cost! 

  • Speedy Internet without abeyance

 With SpaceX’s Starlink, the internet speed is 40 times faster than our regular Internet. According to an email from SpaceX to Starlink subscribers, the users should expect the internet speed in between 50 to 150 Mbps. However, some users experienced much higher rates. The fastest speed recorded to date is 215 Mbps. 

  • Low latency

 SpaceX’s Starlink satellites lie 60 times closer than other satellites to the earth than the regular satellites. Therefore, the latency of Internet Services is much lower. Therefore, the performance of the Internet is much higher. 

  • Impact on Business

 SpaceX’s Starlink can impact the business on a large scale. With Internet services reaching underserved and underdeveloped regions, business activities can boost up and open job opportunities for people worldwide. 

  • Impact on Space

There are rising concerns of Satellite collisions  due to thousands of Satellites operating in space, resulting in Space debris. There were concerns from NASA’s side as well who feared there might be a hindrance in communication. However, there has been an agreement signed between NASA and SpaceX’s Starlink that they will make sure to keep each other informed of the upcoming launches to avoid collisions and maintain healthy practices in the space to mitigate the environmental risks. 

  • Communication with Mars

With the cash generated by the satellites, SpaceX’s Starlink hopes to fund their Mars plans which involve settlement on Mars. According to their ambitions, they plan to send the first humans on Mars by 2024 and carry out their exploration programs.

SpaceX’s Starlink has miles to go, but it seems that it will massively impact and change the world with its advent and rise.