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FCC allows SpaceX to deploy 7,500 second-gen Starlink satellites

2022-12-02 20:10 by
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The Federal Communications Commission has approved SpaceX's request to launch 7,500 second-generation Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit, while firmly pressing the pause button on the remaining 22,488 satellites the company is hoping to deploy.

Those 7,500 satellites would go into orbital shells at an altitude of 525 kilometers and an inclination of 53 degrees, 530 kilometers and 43 degrees, and 535 kilometers and 33 degrees. Those shells, the FCC said, were the first the company planned to populate in the deployment of the overall Gen2 Starlink system.

"Our action will allow SpaceX to begin deployment of Gen2 Starlink, which will bring next-generation satellite broadband to Americans nationwide, including those living and working in areas traditionally unserved or underserved by terrestrial systems," FCC officials wrote in Thursday's decision order. "Our action also will enable worldwide satellite broadband service, helping to close the digital divide on a global scale."

The FCC imposed a limit on the number of satellites in SpaceX's second-generation of the Starlink constellation, also known as Gen2, in order "to address concerns about orbital debris and space safety." SpaceX is also required to coordinate with other satellite operators, as well as with NASA and the National Science Foundation to protect science missions and radioastronomy, respectively.

Several scientific organizations have expressed concern in recent years over ways the flood of satellites in low-Earth orbit may interfere with astronomical observations and pose a potential threat to operations in orbit for astronauts and other satellites.

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