The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Thursday that it had approved SpaceX’s bid to situate up to 7,500 satellites in orbit. The agency then temporarily suspended its consideration of several other proposals.
SpaceX’s Starlink, a group of hundreds of satellites in low-earth-orbit, has thousands of users in the United States. Users pay $599 to purchase the user terminal and $110 per month for the service.
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In 2018, the FCC Administration approved SpaceX’s plans to install up to 4,425 first-generation satellites.
SpaceX has applied to operate a network of 28,988 satellites, to be known as its second-generation or Gen2 Starlink constellation in order to beam internet to areas with restricted access.
“Our action will allow SpaceX to begin deployment of Gen2 Starlink, which will bring next generation satellite broadband to Americans nationwide,” the FCC said in its approval order.
Satellite broadband service will enable international coverage, minimizing digital divides on a global level, it added.
The FCC decided its directive, “will protect other satellite and terrestrial operators from harmful interference and maintain a safe space environment,” and will protect “spectrum and orbital resources for future use.”
In August 2021, a U.S. appeals court upheld the FCC’s approval of a change in SpaceX’s Starlink satellite launch with regard to deploying additional satellites at a lower Earth orbit in order to further their commercial efforts.