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FCC approves SpaceX plan to launch 4,425 broadband satellites



SpaceX yesterday received US approval to launch 4,425 low earth orbit satellites – an important milestone in its plan to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband worldwide.

The US Federal Communications Commission has approved the application of SpaceX under some conditions. SpaceX intends to begin deploying satellites as early as 2019 with the goal of reaching the full capacity of 4,425 satellites in 2024. The FCC approval envisages that SpaceX will launch 50 percent of the satellites by March 2024, all by March 2027

"The granting of this application will enable SpaceX to provide consumers in the United States and around the world with fast, reliable and secure service to provide affordable broadband services, including areas that are underserved or currently unused by existing networks, "said the FCC mandate

The SpaceX network (known as" Starlink ") must be separately licensed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) become. The FCC said its approval depended on SpaceX receiving a positive or "qualified" rating from its EPO [equivalent power flux-density limits] prior to commissioning the service. SpaceX must also follow other ITU rules.

Like other operators, SpaceX must comply with FCC spectrum sharing requirements.Outside the US, coexistence between SpaceX operations and other companies' systems will only be governed by the ITU According to the FCC, SpaceX and some other companies are planning satellite broadband networks at much faster speeds and with significantly lower latency than existing satellite Internet services. "SpaceX satellites while the existing HughesNet satellite network is about 35,400 km high.

SpaceX has a speed of up to one gigabit per second with latencies between 25ms and 35ms Make SpaceX service comparable with cable and fiber while existing Satellite broadband services according to FCC measurements have latencies of 600 ms or more.

"SpaceX states that the SpaceX system … The FCC has previously approved the applications of OneWeb, Space Norway and Telesat to offer broadband from low earth orbit satellites in the US SpaceX is the first US Operator who has obtained FCC approval for such a system, the FCC announced in a notice.

"These permits are the first of their kind for a new generation of large, non-geostationary orbitals [NGSO]" Fixed Satellite Radio Services [FSS] and the Commission continues to process similar requests, "the FCC said.

SpaceX launched the first demonstration satellites for its broadband project last month, in addition to the 4,425 satellites approved by the FCC, SpaceX has proposed an additional 7,500 satellites even closer to ground level This would increase capacity and reduce latency in densely populated areas, and it is not clear when se satellites will start.

Space Junk

The FCC approval of the SpaceX application was unanimous. But the Commission has much to do to prevent all new satellites from colliding, said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

"The FCC faces the growing challenge of orbital debris, and the risk of creating debris collisions today is relatively low," said Rosenworcel. "But they have already happened ̵

1; and as more and more players in the aerospace industry work together to launch smaller, smaller-scale satellites that are harder to track, the frequency of these accidents will inevitably increase, with uncontrolled, growing garbage in orbit leading to some regions of space are useless for decades to come, so we need to develop a comprehensive policy to mitigate collision risks and ensure space sustainability. "

The FCC rules for satellite operations were originally" planned for a time when they went into space astronomically expensive and limited to the strength of our political superpowers, "said Rosenworcel. "No one could imagine commercial tourism prevailing, no one believed crowdfunding-funded satellites were possible, and no one could have imagined the sheer popularity of space entrepreneurship."

SpaceX still has to submit an updated debris prevention plan a condition imposed by the FCC on its approval

The commission's mandate said:

Although we estimate the level of detail and analysis SpaceX uses for its orbital debris reduction and End of Life Disposal Plans, we agree with NASA that the unprecedented number of satellites proposed by SpaceX and the other NGSO FSS systems in this round of processing will further evaluate the relative reliability standards of these spacecraft as well will require the reliability of the methods of de-orbiting spacecraft. Subject to further investigation, it would be too early to allow SpaceX to do so based on its current plan to reduce space debris. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to adapt the granting of SpaceX's request to the Commission's approval of an updated description of the orbital reduction plans for its system.

SpaceX registration approval will depend on the outcome of future FCC regulatory procedures. So SpaceX would have to follow all new orbital rules passed by the FCC. In an earlier article, we described the potential space debris problem. Today, more than 1,700 operational satellites are orbiting Earth, including more than 4,600, including those that are no longer in operation.

SpaceX's plan alone would almost double the total number of satellites in orbit. SpaceX told the FCC that it plans "for the orderly orbit of satellites approaching the end of their useful life (approximately five to seven years) at a speed much faster than required by international standards."

Opposition Opponents

The use of SpaceX met with opposition from other satellite operators who expressed concerns about disrupting other systems and debris. The FCC rejected some of the complaints. For example, OneWeb wanted an inappropriately large buffer zone between its own satellites and SpaceX, which FCC said:

[T] The range of OneWeb's request is unclear and could be interpreted to include a buffer zone that spans elevations between 1,015 and 1,385 kilometers. Setting up such a zone could effectively prevent the proposed operation of the SpaceX system, and OneWeb has provided no legal or technical justification for a buffer zone of this size. While we are concerned about the risk of collisions between the space stations of NGSO systems operating at similar orbital altitudes, we think that these concerns can best be addressed first through coordination between the operators.

If the operators can not agree "The Commission may intervene if necessary," the FCC said.

Many of the other conditions imposed by the FCC relate to the level of performance and the prevention of interference with other systems in different frequency bands.


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