Tech

SpaceX Gets Nod To Launch 12,000 Broadband Satellites

SpaceX Gets Nod To Launch 12,000 Broadband Satellites

Instead of sending Internet traffic to just a handful of satellites in geosynchronous orbit, the companies hope to boost satellite Internet speeds by using many cheaper satellites that orbit closer to earth.

Kepler Communications, Telesat Canada and LeoSat were each given the green light for their respective plans. SpaceX was also granted a request to add 37.5-42.0 GHz, and 47.2-50.2 GHz support to its previously authorized NGSO constellation.

"Our approach to these applications reflects this commission's fundamental approach to encourage the private sector to invest and to innovate and allow market forces to deliver value to American consumers". SpaceX could start offering satellite internet services as soon as 2020, if all goes according to plan and the company sticks to its launch schedule.

Having received approval from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in March to launch more than 4,000 satellites, SpaceX was waiting on the government body to again approve the next batch of satellites that will make up its enormous Starlink fleet of nearly 12,000 spacecraft.

The FCC said the systems "are expected to enable fixed satellite service in the United States, expanding global connectivity and advancing the goals of increasing high-speed broadband availability and competition in the marketplace".

The FCC gave SpaceX six years to launch half of the Starlink constellation and nine years to get the whole fleet up, or it'll require a waiver. These 11,943 satellites will form the expansive Starlink broadband network, created to provide worldwide high speed internet access by ensuring that at least one satellite is always above the horizon for anyone on Earth, the Verge noted.

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The FCC's March 2018 approval of SpaceX's first batch of satellites required SpaceX to launch 50 percent of the 4,425 satellites by March 2024 and all of them by March 2027. Furthermore, the also Canada-licensed Telesat system was given a green light for high-speed, low-latency communication services in the USA via its proposed constellation of NGSO satellites.

"Even a centimeter-wide object can wreak devastating damage to satellites", Pai said. "Accordingly, we condition grant of the application on SpaceX presenting and the Commission granting a modification of this space station grant to include a final orbital debris mitigation plan".

That's why the FCC today said it has "initiated a comprehensive review of its orbital-debris mitigation rules".

The FCC is anxious, however, what the dramatic expansion of man-made objects in low orbit will mean for the growing problem of space junk, the report said.

The FCC said it is "propos [ing] changes to improve disclosure of debris mitigation plans" and seeking public comment on "satellite disposal reliability and methodology, appropriate deployment altitudes in low-Earth-orbit, and on-orbit lifetime, with a particular focus on large NGSO satellite constellations".


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