SpaceX approved to launch 7,518 internet satellites, but under one condition

by Linda Olson November 18, 2018, 3:27
SpaceX approved to launch 7,518 internet satellites, but under one condition

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

Permission for SpaceX to increase its numbers of very-low-Earth orbit satellites was approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

"It will offer high-speed internet in remote areas and global connectivity through "routers in space" for data backhaul". Several thousand small spacecraft will be at a height 335-346 kilometers, others "lift" to the height 1110-1325 kilometers. "It is a problem that's getting magnified in low Earth orbit by the proliferation" of small satellites. SpaceX launched the first two demonstration satellites for that network in February, and the company has said they are functioning.

With up to 108 low-earth-orbit communications satellites in the constellation LeoSat is the first company to have all the High Throughput Satellites (HTS) in the constellation interconnected through laser links, creating an optical backbone in space which is about 1.5 times faster than terrestrial fiber backbones and without the need for any terrestrial touchpoints.

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

In the meantime, several other companies - including Arlington, Va. -based OneWeb - are also racing to build satellites and start launching their own constellations to provide broadband internet access.

The FCC also approved access to the USA market for satellites from Kepler, Telesat and LeoSat.

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SpaceX has gotten the permission it needs to launch more than 7,000 satellites into orbit as part of its enormous Starlink constellation.

However, the approval does come with a big condition set by the FCC in that SpaceX must launch nearly 6,000 of the satellites into orbit by 2024. SpaceX expects to orbit its first Starlink satellites in 2019 and begin providing limited service by 2020.

In 2017, SpaceX submitted regulatory filings to orbit some 12,000 satellites by the mid-2020s.

Authorisation comes as SpaceX successfully launched its 18th rocket into space from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, with a Falcon 9 rocket lifting Qatar's Es'hail 2 communications satellite into orbit.

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.

FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai said, "I'm excited to see what these services might promise and what these proposed constellations have to offer".

"Do the math: it adds up to a next generation space race", she said. "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".

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