WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants his agency approve SpaceX’s 15-month-old application to serve the U.S. with its proposed megaconstellation.
In a statement released just days before SpaceX launches its first two prototype satellites, Pai urged support of the company’s application within the FCC, saying Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX can help reach rural and isolated parts of the country with high-speed Internet.
“To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies. SpaceX’s application — along with those of other satellite companies seeking licenses or access to the U.S. market for non-geostationary satellite orbit systems — involves one such innovation,” Pai said.
SpaceX’s demo satellites launch Feb. 17 on a Falcon 9 rocket along with a Spanish radar-imaging satellite called PAZ. The satellite pair, dubbed Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, will deploy at the same 511-kilometer altitude of Hisdesat’s PAZ, then rise to a 1,125-kilometer orbit to test technology for a constellation of some 4,500 broadband satellites.
SpaceX is one of 11 companies that all followed OneWeb in asking permission to sell telecommunications services in the U.S. with new non-geosynchronous satellite systems in 2016. Since then the FCC has approved three applications: OneWeb for 720 LEO satellites, ...