Here is an example scenario:

Teslarati's SpaceX president teases Starship’s game-changing Starlink launch capabilities provides several links, including CNBC's article and discusses the difficulty of other companies deploying large constellations of satellites anywhere near the same cost per satellite as SpaceX can for several reasons.

It seems that one of the key reasons is that SpaceX has dramatically decreased the cost of launch to orbit by making rockets (almost) routinely reusable, and it's newest rocket Starship (currently under development) both quickly reusable and capable of deploying 400 Starlink satellites into orbit at a time.

In Space Exploration SE back in February 2019 I asked Regulations preventing SpaceX from saying “no” if OneWeb asked them to launch their satellites?. It's way too late to migrate, and so far there have been no answers. When it was suggested that I ask here in May 2019, I demurred.

On the question of SpaceX's ability to say "no" to OneWeb's request to put its constellation into orbit for them, I wrote in that question:

But since SpaceX operates in a highly regulated niche within the already highly regulated transportation industry, would they be able to simply say "no, your money's no good here" or are there regulations that would requite them to treat all potential customers in a similar way?

In the extensive comments there an interesting one draws a parallel to another industry:

there are industries where you aren't allowed to arbitrarily say "no" to potential customers. For example, FedEx and UPS are considered common carriers and are required to carry any package presented to them unless there is a compelling reason not to.

So I'd like to ask:

Question: In the US is launch to orbit service similar to common carriers? Do regulations say anything about a launch-to-orbit provider refusing to launch a competitor's payload?

A potential example can be SpaceX being both a launch provider and Starlink satellite constellation developer being asked to launch it's competitor OneWeb's constellation.

  • What seems “common” about rockets into space? I don’t think they are regulated by the interstate commerce commission. Nov 21 '19 at 5:55
  • @GeorgeWhite I've deleted the word "other". I'm only interested if such concepts apply (i.e. that one company could not refuse another), even if regulations are from a completely different federal regulating body than the ICC.
    – uhoh
    Nov 21 '19 at 6:10
  • How can it be a competitor's payload? SpaceX does not usually make the stuff it launches. I get that they have some satellites, but that doesn't mean others are competitors. That sounds convoluted, but I think you can get what I mean.
    – Putvi
    Nov 21 '19 at 21:04
  • @Putvi I think I've addressed exactly that right in the beginning of the question. SpaceX makes Starlink satellites, and has deployed the first 120 of something like 30,000 of them planned, and it plans to generate significant revenue from them. OneWeb is making the same kind of satellites for the exact same purpose, other companies have plans for satellite constellations with the same function as well. There are more details in the question I've linked to in my first sentence. Since they are competing for the same lucrative internet market, they are competitors.
    – uhoh
    Nov 21 '19 at 23:20

Not unless a company was found to have monopoly power one market and was then found to be using the monopoly in the first market to unfairly monopolize a second market.

This is called “tying”, from Wikipedia- “ Some kinds of tying, especially by contract, have historically been regarded as anti-competitive practices. The basic idea is that consumers are harmed by being forced to buy an undesired good (the tied good) in order to purchase a good they actually want (the tying good), and so would prefer that the goods be sold separately. The company doing this bundling may have a significantly large market share so that it may impose the tie on consumers, despite the forces of market competition. The tie may also harm other companies in the market for the tied good, or who sell only single components.”

  • Your answer is unsupported but so far nobody has objected. I'll accept for now which bumps this to the active queue...
    – uhoh
    Mar 21 '20 at 4:38
  • 1
    thanks - I added some support today Mar 21 '20 at 23:27
  • Great, thank you!
    – uhoh
    Mar 22 '20 at 1:54

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