The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket company permission to launch and place into orbit more than 1500 new Low Earth orbiting ‘Stalink’ satellites.
A statement from SpaceX’s Gwynne Shotwell (President/COO) says: “This approval underscores the FCC’s confidence in SpaceX’s plans to deploy its next-generation satellite constellation and connect people around the world with reliable and affordable broadband service. Starlink production is well underway, and the first group of satellites have already arrived at the launch site for processing.”
This first step towards providing a global broadband-by-satellite service will be started in the next few weeks, possibly in May, when an initial batch of satellites will be launched to eventually orbit at an altitude of 550 kms. SpaceX already has two demonstration satellites orbiting (Tintin 1 and 2) which it launched more than a year ago.
However, this 1500+ satellite mega-constellation is only a small portion of the overall Musk plan, which totals almost 12,000 satellites operating at various heights between 550-1325 kms. All are now officially licensed by the FCC.