SpaceX’s Starlink satellite plan wins FCC’s approval

SpaceX Starlink satellites
SpaceX’s two prototype Starlink satellites are seen on either side of their carrier in advance of February’s launch. (SpaceX via YouTube)

The Federal Communications Commission says it has approved SpaceX’s application to provide broadband internet access via thousands of Starlink satellites — a new breed of spacecraft that’s currently under development at the company’s Seattle-area facilities.

SpaceX launched its first test prototype satellites, known as Tintin A and B, as secondary payloads last month. The California-based company plans to put 4,425 spacecraft into low Earth orbit for the first phase of what’s intended to be a low-cost satellite internet service.

“This is the first approval of a U.S.-licensed satellite constellation to provide broadband services using a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite technologies,” the FCC said today in a statement.

SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, Gwynne Shotwell, said she appreciated “the FCC’s thorough review and approval of SpaceX’s constellation license.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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