New Delhi: Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Friday openly criticised former Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos on Twitter, saying he has taken retirement only to file lawsuits against SpaceX.
Earlier this month, Bezos-owned space firm Blue Origin sued NASA for picking Musk-owned SpaceX for its prestigious $2.9 billion Moon lander programme.
After the lawsuit, the US space agency put SpaceX’s contract on hold for the second time.
Replying to a follower, Musk tweeted: “Turns out Bezos retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX…”
Amazon this week urged the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to dismiss plans by SpaceX to launch another cluster of satellites to power its ambitious space internet service called Starlink.
Starlink is currently powered by around 1,740 low earth orbit satellites, which serve an estimated 90,000 customers globally. The company is set to launch 30,000 second-generation satellites to boost the internet network.
According to court filings, NASA voluntarily agreed to temporarily suspend the SpaceX contract until November 1, this year, while the US Court of Federal Claims adjudicated the case.
NASA agreed to halt SpaceX’s contract on the condition that all parties agreed to “an expedited litigation schedule that concludes on November 1,” a spokesperson for the agency was quoted as saying.
“NASA officials are continuing to work with the Department of Justice to review the details of the case and look forward to a timely resolution of this matter,” the spokesperson added.
Blue Origin sued NASA over its April decision to pick only SpaceX’s Starship rocket system for the agency’s first human lunar landing system since 1972.
The US space agency was expected to pick two lunar lander prototypes (including one of Blue Origin’s) but funding cuts from the US Congress led the agency to select SpaceX over Blue Origin.
Escalating his space war with Musk, Bezos in an open letter to the NASA Administrator Bill Nelson had said that his company would close the US space agency’s near-term budgetary shortfall and produce a safe and sustainable lander that will return Americans to the surface of the Moon — this time to stay.
But, despite the delays, SpaceX has made swift progress on its Starship system and has moved the programme along using mostly private funds, the report said.
The first Starship prototype bound for orbit will be ready for launch “in a few weeks,” Musk tweeted.
Bezos, who founded Amazon exactly 24 years ago on July 5, 1994, officially stepped down in July this year, and former AWS executive Andy Jassy took over as the CEO of the e-commerce behemoth.