FCC tells SpaceX it can deploy up to 11943 broadband satellites

Credit FCC

Credit FCC

In November 2018, the FCC approved the requests of four companies-Space Exploration Holdings, LLC (SpaceX), Kepler Communications, Inc.

The FCC approved SpaceX for a very-low-Earth orbit constellation of more than 7,000 satellites using V-band frequencies. The deal means SpaceX is primed to build on its already formidable interstellar real estate, and make tangible headway in its pursuit of a space-based internet.

One of the biggest hurdles standing in the way of SpaceX launching 7,518 satellites into orbit has just been overcome, according to The Verge.

Right now, SpaceX has only two of those roughly 12,000 satellites in orbit: TinTin A and B, two test satellites it launched in February.

SpaceX had asked the FCC to approve modifications to its license, reducing the altitude from 1,150 kilometers to a new altitude of 550 km. "Many corners of our country that don't have broadband today, or don't have many broadband choices, could soon see new, high-speed services thanks to these low-earth orbit satellites", concluded Carr.




The FCC today also approved United States market entry for smaller satellite systems being built by Kepler Communications, Telesat Canada, and LeoSat. "Our approach to these applications reflects this commission's fundamental approach to encourage the private sector to invest and to innovate and allow market forces to deliver value to American consumers", said FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai. Although the FCC has unanimously approved the project, there are certain demands which Elon Musk's SpaceX has to meet. The satellites will employ optical inter-satellite links; phased array beamforming and digital processing technologies in the Ku- and Ka-band.

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. But the FCC denied the request, saying that "SpaceX has not provided sufficient grounds for a waiver of the Commission's final implementation milestone requirement".

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. Satellite-based service today now are used for service on ships and airplanes.

The agency on a 4-0 vote advanced rules to require more calculations to demonstrate a planned spacecraft poses a minimal risk of collisions, and to minimize new orbiting debris - for instance, from devices that remain aloft after releasing a satellite.

The FCC on Thursday sought to weigh in on the issue itself by unveiling a proposal - its first such effort in a decade - that could introduce more rules to the satellite industry created to limit orbital debris.

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