An artist’s conception shows a constellation of satellites in orbit. (OneWeb Illustration)
The Federal Communications Commission today gave the go-ahead for SpaceX to operate a constellation of more than 7,500 broadband access satellites in very low Earth orbit — and also gave the go-ahead for other satellite constellations chasing similar markets.
SpaceX’s plans to put the V-band satellites in 215-mile-high (345.6-kilometer-high) orbits mesh with a complementary plan to put more than 4,400 satellites in higher orbits for Ku- and Ka-band service. Last week, SpaceX filed an amended application seeking to put 1,584 of those satellites into 342-mile orbits instead of the originally specified 715-mile orbits.
The different orbital altitudes are meant to provide a mix of wide-angle and tightly focused transmission beams for global broadband access. SpaceX could start offering satellite internet services as soon as 2020, if the company sticks to its launch schedule and all goes according plan.
SpaceX’s facility in Redmond, Wash., has the lead role in satellite development for the Starlink constellation.
The FCC also granted SpaceX’s request to add two V-band channels to its previously authorized constellation: 37.5-42.0 GHz for space-to-Earth communications, and 47.2-50.2 for Earth-to-space links.
In a news release, the FCC said today’s ...