The Federal Communications Commission today approved the revisions proposed by SpaceX in its plan to bring thousands of satellites into low Earth orbit to provide a global broadband connection that will allow the launch of satellites next month , [1
Rival companies working on their own underground orbit constellations, including the international OneWeb consortium and Kepler Communications, expressed concerns about SpaceX's proposal to change the orbital arrangement of the satellites. They said the newly adjusted orbits could increase the potential for interference with their planned communication systems. However, the FCC accepted SpaceX's claim to avoid interference and quashed the objections.
Other objections focused on whether SpaceX's lower-orbit satellites could pose a collision risk. The FCC also accepted SpaceX's assurances in this matter.
"SpaceX claims that because all satellites are propelled and maneuverable to prevent collisions, they are considered safe for all other satellites in this orbital region," said the FCC in today's order and approval. Regulators also took note of SpaceX's claim that satellites in 550-kilometer orbits will vanquish themselves within five years due to atmospheric drag.
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer, praised the FCC's action in a statement by email:
"This approval underscores FCC's confidence in SpaceX's plans to deploy a next-generation satellite constellation and connect people around the world with a reliable and affordable broadband service. The Starlink production is in full swing and the first group of satellites has already arrived at the launch site for clearance.
SpaceX announces that the first satellite wave will not launch into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, May
The company's Redmond, Washington, facility has been instrumental in the development and production of Starlink Satellites played. The satellite development team underwent management restructuring last year, aimed at accelerating the progress of the multi-billion dollar project and driving forward design revisions.
In addition to the satellite releases, SpaceX has filed an application for operation up to that date with one million user terminals and the first six ground-based gateways to provide the necessary communications links from the satellites to the global Internet. Two of these gateways are located in Washington, Redmond and North Bend, and the constellation's telemetry, tracking and command station is located in Brewster, Washington.
The Starlink service could offer high-speed connections from 2020-2021. SpaceX is required to commission half of its satellites by 2024. To facilitate this task, SpaceX prepares for its super-heavy starship launch system Starship in Texas.
There have already been schemes for internet access provided from above in recent years. It is widely believed that SpaceX and OneWeb have made their plans the most advanced. Kepler Communications, a graduate of the Techstars Startup Incubator 2016, focuses on connecting the Internet of Things. This month, Amazon announced that it plans to build its own satellite network called Kuiper. Other potential entrants are Telesat, LeoSat, Boeing and Facebook.
Alphabet's Loon and HAPSMobile, a joint venture between SoftBank Corp. and Aerovironment, highlighted a different approach to the challenge of high-speed connectivity this week to enable broadband access for balloons and solar-powered high drones.