Why does it matter: As the race toward the satellite Internet network heats up, SpaceX has won another complicated regulation battle. Despite fears of collisions and collisions, the Federal Communications Commission allowed SpaceX to change its plan and bring 1584 satellites from 1150 kilometers to 550 kilometers.
SpaceX's upcoming Internet Starlink satellite network will pair thousands of Internet satellites with a million ground stations to provide Internet access to the world. Half of the required satellites will be launched by 2024, leading to limited commercial completion within three to five years.
In March last year, the FCC approved the first batch of satellites: 4425 orbiting around 1100 kilometers (685 miles) and 1325 kilometers (825 miles). In November, SpaceX received approval for the second batch, 7518 satellites orbiting 345 miles (215 miles), but SpaceX then threw wrenchs of work and asked for 1584 satellites from the first batch to be up to 550 km (340 miles) Finally approved as well.
SpaceX is now fully licensed to launch and operate all of the 11,924 satellites they need for Starlink.
"This certification underscores the FCC's confidence in SpaceX's plans to deploy its next-generation satellite group and connect people around the world with a reliable and inexpensive broadband service," said SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell.
Two Starlink demonstration satellites, called Tintin A & B, are deployed and connected to Earth stations pic.twitter.com/TfI53wHEtz
– Eilon Mosk (@elonmusk) February 22, 2018
SpaceX learned from their test satellites TinTin A and B that reducing the route reduces the number of satellites required by 16 and makes them much easier to push into the Earth's atmosphere so they can burn when it comes to cleaning time. It also reduces latency in just 15 milliseconds, 1/67 of a second.
Of course, there are also risks: a higher chance of colliding with other satellites and the potential for generating signal interference for other networks. "According to the SpaceX, because all of its satellites have propulsion and can be manipulated to avoid collisions, they are considered zero risk to all other satellites in this route area," the FCC said. With regard to these, they simply declared that approval was in the public interest.
SpaceX plans to launch the first batch production of satellites sometime next month. Amazon has also jumped on the band, such as Kepler, Telescat Canada, Lauset, OneWeb, Boeing and Facebook.