SpaceX had previously planned to fly internet-beaming satellites. Now, SpaceX will be flying these satellites at a lower orbit than what was first planned. The FCC too, has approved the request put forward by SpaceX, which was a major hurdle for the company. The first operational internet-beaming satellites will be launched next month in Florida.
Known as Starlink, SpaceX had previously sent a partial request to the Federal Communications Commission. The original agreement had nearly 4,425 Starlink satellites launched into the orbit that was ranged between 1,110 to 1,325 km up. After the test trials of the networking satellites TinTin A and B, SpaceX has decided to fly the satellites at a lower orbit- at 550 km.
SpaceX proposes that having a lower-range orbit means lower latency in signals. The overall transmission is just 15 milliseconds when it’s 550 km away. Plus, the number of Starlink satellites required will also be reduced.
In a statement, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said: “This approval underscores the FCC’s confidence in SpaceX’s plans to deploy its next-generation satellite constellation and connect people around the world with reliable and affordable broadband service.”
However, not everyone is happy with the lower orbit range. Other satellite operators- OneWeb and Kepler Communications have filed petitions as there could be a clash of frequencies. But the FCC is completely supporting SpaceX as it said in its statement: “We find no reason to defer action on SpaceX’s modification request as requested by certain commenters.”