SpaceX Gets FCC Approval to Launch 7,000 New Internet Satellites

CEO Elon Musk participates in

CEO Musk participates in a"fireside chat at the NLC 2018 City Summit in Los Angeles Thomson Reuters

Elon Musk's company was given authorisation for NGSO satellite activities alongside Kepler Communications, Telesat Canada, and LeoSat. "It is a problem that's getting magnified in low Earth orbit by the proliferation" of small satellites.

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".

It is noted that the satellites of the composition of global Internet Starlink will be placed at different heights. Kepler's approvals with the FCC will allow it to offer "global connectivity for the Internet of Things" according to the FCC using NGSO satellites in the 10.7-12.7 GHz and 14.0-14.5 GHz frequency bands with 140 proposed satellites. The satellites are part of Musk's ambitious multibillion-dollar Starlink broadband project.

SpaceX is reportedly set to begin launching its new satellite fleet next year, but its ambition to formally upend the internet as we know it will certainly take longer. The FCC's approval for SpaceX shows a much grander vision than what SpaceX talked about before.

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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. The high-throughput satellites will form a mesh network interconnected through inter-satellite laser links, creating an optical backbone that is approximately 1.5 times faster than terrestrial fiber networks.

SpaceX didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the constellations that advanced today are evidence of a major shift in space activities, since the number of approved satellites almost equals the 8,126 objects that have been launched into space since Sputnik in 1957.

The FCC's approval triggers a regulatory deadline whereby the companies must place at least half their constellations in orbit within six years, and the full systems in nine. Those satellites would use frequencies in what is known as the V-band to transmit data back to Earth. To prevent the orbital debris, the FCC soon will come up with the rules for the satellite industry.

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In a statement, FCC chair Ajit Pai said: "I'm excited to see what these services might promise and what these proposed constellations have to offer".

It's worth noting that around 5,00,000 pieces of debris were estimated to be present in orbit in 2012.

The FCC said it is "propos [ing] changes to improve disclosure of debris mitigation plans" and 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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