SpaceX, TeleSat Canada bids get U.S. nod to expand satellite internet

Angelica Greene
Ноября 18, 2018

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved SpaceX's request to deploy over 7,000 satellites for its Starlink constellation, which aims to provide broadband internet services.

The systems are expected to enable fixed satellite broadband service in the United States, as well as support increased global connectivity for broadband and IoT services.

"From providing high-speed broadband services in remote areas to offering global connectivity to the Internet of Things through "routers in space" for data backhaul, I'm excited to see what services these proposed constellations have to offer", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said today.

"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". The project would cost Dollars 10 billion to develop, and SpaceX aims a fully operational constellation by the mid-2020s.

The rest - which move at speeds of some 12-19,000 miles (20-30,000 kilometers) per hour - includes almost 3,000 inactive satellites, 2,000 pieces of rockets (such as the second stages of rockets) and thousands of fragments produced by two key events: the deliberate missile explosion of a Chinese satellite in 2007, and the 2009 collision of an Iridium satellite with an aging Russian one.

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Commissioners Rosenworcel and Michael O'Rielly cautioned that more work remains to be done on orbital debris concerns given the large number of satellites planned to launch within the next decade, but said approving the four constellations was important to do now regardless.

SpaceX's plan to put 7,518 V-band satellites in 215-mile-high (345.6-kilometer-high) orbits meshes with a complementary plan to put more than 4,400 satellites in higher orbits for Ku- and Ka-band service. To recall, SpaceX previously received the approval from FCC for a constellation of 4,425 satellites in March. SpaceX expects to orbit its first Starlink satellites in 2019 and begin providing limited service by 2020. One week later, the company did just that, sending the Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b Internet-beaming satellite prototypes into space alongside Spain's Paz Earth-observing satellite.

"Certain orbits are getting crowded, it is a problem that's getting magnified in low Earth orbit by the proliferation of small satellites."
Within five years of their launch into orbit, NASA estimated that nearly all of the Starlink satellites will need to be taken out of commission or they risk dramatically increasing in-space collisions.

As a result of the space junk issue, the FCC asked SpaceX to submit debris mitigation plans. As a result, these low-flying satellites will have service lives lasting a couple of years before they burn-up. If the SpaceX is able to launch all the proposed satellites to space, the number will increase six-fold. The company is building its satellites in-house.

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