FCC: SpaceX Can Solely Launch 7,500 Second-Gen Starlink Satellites | Hazard Tech

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The Federal Communications Fee (FCC) lastly granted SpaceX the license it wanted to begin deploying a brand new technology of Starlink satellites. Whereas SpaceX initially wished clearance to launch practically 30,000 v2 satellites, the FCC has solely given the go-ahead for 7,500 (at altitudes larger than 500 kilometers) as a substitute of the 29,988 it wished. Nevertheless, that’s nonetheless greater than double the quantity that SpaceX presently operates.

SpaceX started rolling out the v1 satellites in 2019. With the assistance of the corporate’s Falcon 9 rocket, which might put as much as 60 Starlink nodes into orbit per launch, SpaceX rapidly turned the world’s largest satellite tv for pc operator. Elon Musk’s plans for Starlink transcend the capabilities of present satellite tv for pc designs, which weigh round 650 kilos (295 kilograms). Probably the most highly effective Starlink v2 can be a number of occasions bigger at practically 3,000 kilos (1,250 kilograms).

The restricted approval is a response to a number of considerations, amongst which Starlink satellites may spoil astronomical observations. Scientists have been sounding the alarm ever since SpaceX started constructing its mega-constellation out of smaller satellites. The deployment of tens of 1000’s of bigger satellites may make issues worse. The FCC additionally cited potential issues with congestion in orbit, which may result in collisions with different satellite tv for pc networks and spacecraft. Due to this fact, it authorised the deployment of v2 solely at particular altitudes.

Starlink v1 satellites stacked up for launch.

In accordance with the FCC, this grant really reduces the full variety of satellite tv for pc authorizations for SpaceX. It presently operates round 3,200 Starlink nodes and has been authorised for a complete of 12,000. SpaceX had greater than 7,500 unused licenses from its V-band community that can be merged into the second-generation community, and will nonetheless get approval for extra satellites down the highway. The FCC will even require SpaceX to coordinate with NASA and the Nationwide Science Basis to make sure that its new satellites don’t intervene with ongoing analysis.

Starlink’s beta service launched in 2020 and affords speeds approaching 100 Mbps. Whereas nonetheless a lot quicker than conventional satellite tv for pc web, Starlink has change into extra congested because it provides extra subscribers. SpaceX additionally just lately added a 1TB month-to-month knowledge restrict to the service. Nevertheless, we might not count on any instant enchancment. SpaceX wants the Starship rocket in improvement to deploy its largest satellites, and has but to conduct an orbital take a look at of that automobile.

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FCC: SpaceX Can Only Launch 7,500 Second-Gen Starlink Satellites