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Intelsat, SpaceX spat

Intelsat has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulator to forbid the launch of two small experimental satellites by SpaceX, saying that SpaceX has not disclosed sufficient information on the satellites.

The news, reported by trade mag SpaceNews, comes in the form of a July 9th filing to the FCC, which says SpaceX has declined to specify how its proposed fleet of Low Earth Orbiting satellites would avoid interference with Intelsat and other geostationary operators.

The Intelsat language is quite blunt, despite being an “informal objection” and tells the FCC that it has also requested a ‘Freedom of Information’ request for full access to SpaceX’s plans, and filings. Intelsat accuses SpaceX of “boldly” claiming that any interference is unlikely.

The Elon Musk-backed SpaceX is proposing placing 4000 of these small craft into orbit and designed to transmit broadband data traffic around the planet, and avoid congestion in terrestrial networks.

SpaceX has itself filed (via the government of Norway) an initial notification to the ITU requesting recognition of the two proposed satellites (named Steam-1 and Steam-2). These two satellites would operate in the Ka and Ku bands.

Separately, SpaceX has also applied to the FCC for permission to launch 6-8 satellites in order to test Ku-band transmissions. The first of these are expected to launch in 2016.

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