FCC authorizes SpaceX to deploy 7,500 second-generation Starlink satellites. A far cry from the 30,000 originally requested, but already worrying for some.
SpaceX had asked Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorization to deploy 29,888 second-generation Starlink satellites in 2020. Today, the FCC is partially granting this authorization. The commission gives the green light to the company to create, deploy and operate up to 7,500 satellites of its Gen2 constellation at altitudes of 525, 530 and 535 km. In its announcement, the FCC explains that this will allow SpaceX to offer Internet access to users worldwide, even those living in very remote areas.
FCC authorizes SpaceX to deploy 7,500 second-generation Starlink satellites
The FCC currently limits the number of satellites for fear of orbital debris and general safety. The commission explains that this will help maintain a safe space environment and protect other operators from potentially harmful interference. Several companies, including NASA, had expressed concern about SpaceX’s plan to launch 30,000 more satellites, especially since the FCC had already approved the launch of 12,000 first-generation Starlink satellites.
In a NASA letter to the commission, the agency discussed the potential effects of such a large constellation on space missions. A large number of satellites According to her, satellites could increase the risk of collision and significantly reduce the launch windows. That said, the FCC retains the right to approve or disapprove additional implementations.
A far cry from the 30,000 originally requested, but already worrying for some
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had revealed that the second generation of Starlink satellites are much larger than their predecessors and will be launched on the company’s Starship launch vehicle. This size is because their massive antennae allow them to communicate with telephones on Earth and mobile antennas in the sky.
The partnership between T-Mobile and SpaceX, announced last August, hinges on these second-generation satellites. The two companies want to do away with the white areas with this partnership and offer connectivity anywhere there is a clear view of the sky, even if it’s in the middle of the ocean.