US authorities have recently approved SpaceX’s project to put in orbit more than 4,000 satellites, with thousands others in the pipeline. What is the purpose of such a big project? Why so many? We explain…
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has just given SpaceX the green light to send 4,425 satellites to space. The project called Starlink aims to provide Internet connection on the entire surface of the Earth. With such a network, SpaceX will have a new market with big potential, while maintaining inexpensive stations on Earth.
The first wave of 4,425 satellites will bring others, for a total of nearly 11,925 by 2020. It will then be a fleet of interconnected satellites that will cover our planet in its entirety.
In February 2018, SpaceX filed several documents with the FCC for a test; the launch of two satellites called Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, an operation that took place on 22 February.
These two satellites were placed in orbit at the same time as Paz, another satellite for the surveillance of oceans and global maritime traffic.
“With this action, the Commission takes another step to increase high-speed broadband availability and competition in the United States,” the FCC says in a statement given to CBC.
“We appreciate the FCC’s thorough review and approval of SpaceX’s constellation license. Although we still have much to do with this complex undertaking, this is an important step toward SpaceX building a next-generation satellite network that can link the globe with reliable and affordable broadband service, especially reaching those who are not yet connected,” says Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer.
So this is a landmark decision, and it must be remembered that the race for broadband Internet is a huge market with billions of dollars in potential for companies to get into it.