SpaceX will Expose above 7,000 New Internet-beaming Satellites

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The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved SpaceX's request to build, deploy and operate over 7,000 satellites in the very-low-Earth orbit.

The FCC had approved a SpaceX plan last March for a satellite system comprised of 4,425 satellites and granted it the authority to use frequencies in the Ka (20/30 GHz) and Ku (11/14 GHz) bands for providing global internet connectivity.

Starlink is aiming to provide internet access anywhere on the globe via an array of low earth orbit satellites deployed at altitudes ranging from 715 to 823 miles.

In a statement, FCC chair Ajit Pai said: "I'm excited to see what these services might promise and what these proposed constellations have to offer". The project would cost United States dollars 10 billion to develop, and SpaceX aims a fully operational constellation by the mid-2020s.

Right now, SpaceX has only two of those roughly 12,000 satellites in orbit: TinTin A and B, two test satellites it launched in February.

The company has dramatically increased its launch capacity in 2018, with four more scheduled for a total of 22 launches.

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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). At that altitude, SpaceX says atmospheric drag would pull spent satellites down in one month, assuaging concerns about the magnitude of debris that that many satellites could create in higher orbits.

The FCC voted to grant "market access" requests to Telesat, Kepler, and LeoSat MA, to offer high-speed internet service and connectivity for sensors and other intelligence devices. Designed as a backbone in space for global business, LeoSat's data network will enable new opportunities for sectors such as enterprise-to-enterprise communications, telecommunications, oil & gas operations and maritime services, delivering premise-to-premise high-speed data (greater than 1 Gbps) with unmatched security to any location in the world.

The SpaceX network would vastly multiply the number of satellites around Earth.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the constellations that advanced today are evidence of a major shift in space activities, since the number of approved satellites almost equals the 8,126 objects that have been launched into space since Sputnik in 1957. The company is planning to launch the first 4,425 satellites into the low-orbit of Earth, helping it to cut down on the latency. It gives concern to the FCC regarding the debris rules and other space matters issues. The first Starlink satellites should become operational by either 2019 or 2020. The three companies will launch 117,78 and 140 satellites respectively. As a result, these low-flying satellites will have service lives lasting a couple of years before they burn-up.

A small Japanese company founded in 2013, Astroscale, is developing a system to approach and capture space debris and broken satellites.