"Sue Origin."

Sue Origin

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has reignited his longstanding feud with Amazon founder and Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos.

Blue Origin, which has yet to launch a single rocket into orbit, filed documents with the Federal Aviation Administration last week, arguing that SpaceX's plans to launch Starship rockets from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida should be limited to ensure "minimal impact on the local environment, locally operating personnel, and the local community."

Musk didn't take to the suggestion kindly, firing back on his social media platform X.

"An obviously disingenuous response," he posted in response on Tuesday. "Not cool of them to try (for the third time) to impede SpaceX's progress by lawfare."

He then followed up with his favored derogatory nickname for his competitor and its legal maneuvering: "Sue Origin."

The Boys Are Fighting

The two billionaires' feud goes way back, with Musk taking many potshots at Bezos and Blue Origin over the years. In one crude Photoshop he posted in 2019, Musk mocked Blue Origin's "Blue Moon" lander, dubbing it "Blue Balls." In 2021, Musk tweeted that Bezos "can't get it up," in reference to Blue Origin's struggles to reach orbit.

But Musk's latest accusation that Blue Origin is waging "lawfare" against SpaceX isn't entirely unwarranted.

Bezos' space company has long opposed the development of SpaceX's Starship, arguing that NASA should favor its own lunar lander instead. Blue Origin has maintained that the massive spacecraft is too unwieldy and wastes too much fuel on its way to the Moon, culminating in Bezos suing NASA over its SpaceX contract in August 2021.

The lawsuit was shut down by a federal claims court, but last year NASA finally gave in and awarded Blue Origin a separate lunar lander contract.

In 2021, Amazon-owned broadband satellite company Kuiper Systems also attempted to prevent SpaceX from expanding its Starlink constellation.

At the time, Musk accused Bezos of retiring "in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX."

As for Starship's impact on the local environment, the spacecraft has already been through a thorough environmental assessment by the FFA — at least as far as its operations in South Texas are concerned. Earlier this month, the regulator announced it had issued a license for SpaceX's fourth test flight.

However,  SpaceX wants to move Starship launches to Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, triggering a separate environmental impacts investigation in May.

In short, are Bezos' concerns really "disingenuous," as Musk argues — or should regulators attempt to reign in Starship launches to ensure they won't interfere with the local environment?

Given the pair's considerable investments in the space, it's likely a mix of both.

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