Musk SpaceX wins approval to deploy over 7,000 satellites
Musk spacex: Elon Musk-led space exploration startup SpaceX has been granted permission from the US regulators to deploy more than 7,000 satellites designed to provide broadband communications. The decision paves the way for SpaceX to build its full network of around 12,000 satellites intended to offer wireless internet access across the planet. The startup said it plans to begin launches next year.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has two test satellites aloft, and it earlier won permission for a separate set of 4,425 satellites — which like the 7,518 satellites authorized Thursday are designed to provide broadband communications. It has said it plans to begin launches next year.
Space companies riding innovations that include smaller and cheaper satellites — with some just 4 inches long and weighing only 3 pounds — are planning fleets that will fly fast and low, offering communications now commonly handled by larger, more expensive satellites.
Right now there are fewer than 2,000 operating satellites, and the planned additional space traffic demands vigilance, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said before the agency voted Thursday on a variety of space-related matters including SpaceX’s application, debris rules, and other space matters.
“Even a centimeter-wide object can wreak devastating damage to satellites,” Pai said. He pointed to the 2013 film “Gravity” that portrayed devastating consequences including a spacecraft’s destruction from a debris strike.
The agency on a 4-0 vote advanced rules to require more calculations to demonstrate a planned spacecraft poses a minimal risk of collisions, and to minimize new orbiting debris — for instance, from devices that remain aloft after releasing a satellite.