Bezos vs. Musk: Blue Origin Files Complaint Over SpaceX’s Florida Launch Plans

The longstanding rivalry between space billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk continues, with Blue Origin filing a complaint against SpaceX to raise concerns about the company’s massive Starship rocket.

Blue Origin issued a public comment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), suggesting that the regulatory body limit the number of launches of SpaceX’s Starship rocket from Launch Complex-39A at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. Bezos’ space venture is getting ready to launch its long-anticipated New Glenn rocket from the Kennedy Space Center later this year, and it’s concerned SpaceX’s operations will have a negative impact on its precious vehicle.

SpaceX is planning for as many as 44 launches of the Starship rocket per year. Earlier this year, the FAA began an environmental impact statement (EIS) for Starship launches from KSC’s Launch Complex 39A. The period for public comment on the construction of SpaceX’s new launchpad for its Starship rocket ended on June 24, with Blue Origin sliding in a comment on June 21.

Blue Origin’s public comment warns of risks to the “health and safety of the population in the surrounding area, including Blue Origin personnel,” as well as the “quality and safety of air, water, and ground resources as it relates to the release of toxic or hazardous materials,” and the “impacts on the water supply or water resource depletion.”

The company suggests that the FAA limit the rate of Starship launches from KSC, limit the times of the rocket’s launches while allowing other launch providers scheduling priorities, as well as building additional infrastructure to reduce the risk for other launch providers.

SpaceX’s Starship rocket recently completed its fourth test flight, which saw the booster landing in the Gulf of Mexico and the upper stage experiencing a chaotic reentry. The company is currently preparing to launch its megarocket for a fifth time, bringing it closer to operational launches. Starship is a big boy, standing at 400 feet tall (122meters) and producing 16 million pounds of thrust at full throttle. Its first launch did raise some concerns, causing major damage at the launch mount and the scattering of debris across a wide area.

Blue Origin is seemingly riding off that maiden launch wave to try and limit Starship’s operations. This doesn’t come as a surprise; the wealthy rocket men have been competing for years to take over the skies. In 2021, Blue Origin filed a lawsuit to challenge NASA’s choice of SpaceX for the lunar lander contract.

SpaceX is clearly ahead in the game, and Blue Origin seems to be experiencing some envy.  In response to Blue Origin’s public comment, SpaceX’s Musk wrote on X, “Sue Origin.” A very clever play on words to add to this rocket-swinging contest.

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