SpaceX Gets Approval to Launch 12,000 Broadband Satellites

Satellite constellation

An artist’s conception shows a constellation of satellites in orbit

Elon Musk's SpaceX has received approvals from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put a constellation of almost 12,000 satellites into orbit that would foster cheap wireless Internet access by the 2020s.

In addition to the companies that were the subject of today's actions, the worldwide OneWeb consortium is planning to put hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit to provide low-cost global internet access. Our approach to these applications reflects this commission's fundamental approach to encourage the private sector to invest. SpaceX has also said it will provide gigabit speeds and that it will provide broadband access. SpaceX is expected to spend more than Dollars 10 Million for this project with the aim of having it operational by the mid-2020s. SpaceX launched the first two demonstration satellites for that network in February, and the company has said they are functioning. The company has dramatically increased its launch capacity this year, with four more scheduled for a total of 22 launches. Furthermore, the also Canada-licensed Telesat system was given a green light for high-speed, low-latency communication services in the United States via its proposed constellation of NGSO satellites. Kepler Communications and LeoSat also won FCC approval to place low Earth orbit satellites into space.

"My favourite example is an innocuous little screwdriver that slipped through an astronaut's grasp and has been circling low Earth orbit at up to 21,600 miles per hour for the last 35 years".

LeoSat meant to launch two prototype satellites next year, but scrapped those plans to save costs, choosing instead to do tech validation on the ground with Thales Alenia Space and investor Sky Perfect Jsat of Japan.

Alan Musk's company Space-X will install 12,000 satellites in the orbit of the Earth in the next nine years. For fun, I am including a video of the SpaceX Es'hail-2 Mission satellite launch to provide internet for the Middle East and North Africa that was done yesterday.

In May, DARPA announced a $117.5 million project to adapt Starlink's technology for spy and navigation satellites to replace the U.S. military's aging fleet of giant and expensive satellites, which it fears are vulnerable to interception or interruption by hostile powers such as Russian Federation and China in the event of conflict.

"While there are still issues to be explored, including communications with [Earth stations in motion] and orbital debris, and policy calls that we may not have gotten quite right, such as how we handle in-line interference, the commission continues to take necessary steps to allow investment and future deployment of these ambitious projects", O'Rielly said.

Starlink's novelty has inspired the Pentagon, too, which seeks to pioneer a generation of cheap, disposable, lightweight satellites through its Blackjack program, spearheaded by the Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Sputnik reported.

Telecommunications giant Intelsat, which operates 50 geostationary satellites, chose a different option and signed a contract with Space Logistics, a branch of Northrop Grumman, for its MEV, a "very simple system" vice president Ken Lee told AFP is much like a "tow truck".

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