SpaceX has won FCC approval to launch 7,518 Starlink low Earth orbit internet satellites into space.
SpaceX initially requested the FCC to grant the six-year milestone only to an initial launch of 1,600 for the batch of 7,518 broadband satellites.
In addition to the companies that were the subject of today's actions, the worldwide OneWeb consortium is planning to put hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit to provide low-cost global internet access.
"It will offer high-speed internet in remote areas and global connectivity through "routers in space" for data backhaul". Starlink will let the company provide a high-speed internet coverage to every corner of the world. The project is expected to have a total cost of $10 billion to develop. SpaceX launched the first two demonstration satellites for that network in February, and the company has said they are functioning.
A two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with the Es'hail-2 communications satellite is scheduled to lift off from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:46 p.m. EST (2046 GMT).
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The FCC is anxious, however, what the dramatic expansion of man-made objects in low orbit will mean for the growing problem of space junk, the report said. Unlike SpaceX, these three satellite systems would get their primary approvals from foreign governments, but they still need FCC approval for access to the United States market. Existing satellites that provide Internet services are as high up as 22,000 miles, whereas Musk's "space internet" satellites have a dramatically reduced lag time thanks to their closer orbiting range.
That's why the FCC today it has "initiated a comprehensive review of its orbital-debris mitigation rules".
The FCC's approval triggers a regulatory deadline whereby the companies must place at least half their constellations in orbit within six years, and the full systems in nine.
In 2017, SpaceX submitted regulatory filings to orbit some 12,000 satellites by the mid-2020s. The company is building its satellites in-house. "For my part, I'm excited to see what services these companies will offer, and I'm glad we are clearing the way for more choices and more connections for Americans regardless of where they live".
"While there are still issues to be explored, including communications with [Earth stations in motion] and orbital debris, and policy calls that we may not have gotten quite right, such as how we handle in-line interference, the commission continues to take necessary steps to allow investment and future deployment of these ambitious projects", O'Rielly said.
A small Japanese company founded in 2013, Astroscale, is developing a system to approach and capture space debris and broken satellites.