FCC Clears SpaceX To Put Up More Satellites

It appears as though there will be more Starlink satellites in the air soon as the FCC has given SpaceX its approval. There are a few companies, such as HughesNet and Amazon, that don’t want SpaceX to launch more satellites because they are often placed at a lower orbit and can sometimes interfere with their satellites. After listening to all sides, the FCC made the decision to approve the requests made by SpaceX.

What SpaceX Wants
When SpaceX approached the FCC, the company wanted to launch satellites so that they would be at lower levels. This would allow for Starlink satellites to be at multiple levels of the atmosphere, offering better coverage for customers who rely on the services provided by the company. The satellites will be placed at a range of about 540 kilometers. This is down about half of the original distance that was requested by the company.

What’s in the Atmosphere?
There are about 1,400 satellites that SpaceX has launched already with several more on the way. The company uses satellites to provide internet services to businesses and residential areas across the world. The goal is to try to provide as much internet coverage for customers as possible who live in rural areas that might not have a cable connection. This can improve the quality of life for those who rely on the internet for work or school so that they don’t get behind and so that they can provide for their families.

Standing in the Way
Other companies that have satellites in space aren’t very happy with the requests that have been made by SpaceX. FCC received an application from SpaceX to try to amend the details of where its satellites were placed as it wanted them at the same levels. Dozens of comments about the request were received as companies didn’t want SpaceX to have control over the same level in the atmosphere. It would have put the other companies at a disadvantage, leading to a decrease in revenue.

The companies involved in the dispute feel that SpaceX isn’t playing fair and that they should be able to have more satellites in space if SpaceX is granted approval for more. SpaceX has wanted to place satellites at lower levels in the atmosphere because the company feels that there has been a significant amount of interference from other satellites and from some of the debris that’s in space. Amazon is one of the companies that believe that more SpaceX satellites could interfere with the satellites that they have in place.

Approval
Even though there were over 200 concerns voiced by various satellite companies, the FCC gave SpaceX the approval that it needed. Due to the lower levels and angles of the atmosphere, satellites that are at a lower altitude could provide better coverage for those who need internet services. The modification that SpaceX requested from the FCC doesn’t look to interfere with other satellites at the moment. There are a few conditions that need to be met before the satellites are launched. Reports are to be submitted by SpaceX that pertain to plans that are in place to prevent a collision with other satellites. The company is also supposed to make reports to the FCC about any satellites that aren’t functioning so that they can be removed.

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