SpaceX, Telesat Canada get approval to roll-out global satellite network

SpaceX, Telesat Canada get approval to roll-out global satellite network


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. Along with SpaceX's proposal, the FCC granted permission to three other companies - Telesat, LeoSat, and Kepler Communications. The company is planning to launch the first 4,425 satellites into the low-orbit of Earth, helping it to cut down on the latency.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has two test satellites aloft, and it earlier won permission for a separate set of 4,425 satellites - which like the 7,518 satellites authorized Thursday are created to provide broadband communications. "Our approach to these applications reflects this commission's fundamental approach: encourage the private sector to invest and innovate and allow market forces to deliver value to American consumers". The prototypes test communications between space and Earth for Internet of Things connectivity, though Kepler also plans to connect other satellites in space through the use of intersatellite links on its operational spacecraft. (LeoSat)-to launch satellites. The new satellites will join the existing satellites in forming the Starlink network. SpaceX has also said it will provide gigabit speeds and that it will provide broadband access.

With the addition of previous 4,425 satellites, SpaceX can now launch its full satellite internet constellations having almost 12,000 spacecraft.

SpaceX also asked the FCC for permission to change the planned location of 1,584 satellites.

In March, the FCC permitted SpaceX to launch 4,425 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, and on Friday allowed another 7,518.

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.

In 2017, SpaceX submitted regulatory filings to orbit some 12,000 satellites by the mid-2020s. The FCC granted OneWeb access to the USA market in 2017, and OneWeb's first satellites could be launched from Arianespace's spaceport in French Guiana as early as next February. About 500,000 objects between one and 10cm "were estimated to be in orbit as of 2012", and at least 23,000 were man-made, the FCC said. The remaining 7,518 satellites will then cover the orbit below the first constellation.

SpaceX has submitted debris mitigation plans, but the FCC said it still needs more details from the company.

CEO Elon Musk has said the proposed satellite constellation could provide cheaper internet access, especially in more rural areas that are hard to service through land-based networks. "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".

  • Terrell Bush