Technology

SpaceX received approval to change Starlink satellite installation pattern

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approvedSpaceX's request to launch a large grouping of its own telecommunications satellites to a lower orbit, than indicated in the original plans. The absence of this permission was a wall for the company before the launch of the first part of the total mass of the planned constellation of satellites to be held next month.

Last November, SpaceX filed a request forpartial revision of plans for the grouping of her future satellites, which she intends to use to cover the entire Earth with broadband Internet. The project, we recall, is called Starlink. According to an earlier agreement with the FCC, the company received permission to launch 4425 Starlink satellites, and planned to place them at different altitudes from 1110 to 1325 kilometers above the surface of the planet. However, tests of two previously launched test satellites TinTin A and TinTin B, which will also become part of the company's future satellite constellation, forced SpaceX to reconsider its decision. Now the company is aiming to output 1584 satellites to another height. Instead of 1,150 kilometers, SpaceX plans to place them at an altitude of 550 kilometers.

As pointed out in SpaceX, the ability to positionStarlink satellites in a lower orbit will reduce the delay time for transmitting signals from vehicles to 15 milliseconds. In addition, a lower orbit will allow it to use 16 satellites less, which in turn will reduce the risk of volumes of potential space debris. This is explained by the fact that at an altitude of 550 kilometers above the surface of the Earth, satellites will be more strongly exposed to the atmosphere of the planet, and their output to the desired height in this case will be carried out much faster. Thus, in the event of satellite failure, they will be able to leave the orbit much faster and burn in the dense layers of the atmosphere, and not to replenish the rows of already huge volumes of near-Earth debris.

However, with this decision SpaceX agreeturned out to be not all. The British company OneWeb, which is also going to put a large constellation of its Internet satellites into Earth orbit, and satellite operator Kepler Communications have submitted a petition for the company Ilon Mask’s refusal to make edits and permits to change the working height of SpaceX satellites. Both companies emphasized to the commission that, as Starlink satellites use frequencies similar to their satellites, they can interfere with their equipment if they are in a lower orbit. After checking, the FCC did not find any problems with this.

"After reviewing the technical edits of SpaceX, weconcluded that Starlink satellites should not present significant problems for other satellite operators and are in the public interest, ”the FCC explained.

There were also concerns aboutincreased risk of collision of SpaceX satellites with satellites of other operators, as they operate in similar orbits. However, here, the Federal Communications Commission did not find any problems, noting that Starlink satellites do not present any danger, as they are equipped with engines with which they can change their position in case of a collision hazard.

Recall that SpaceX plans to bring ona total of almost 12,000 satellites around Earth orbit, with the help of which it is going to cover all corners of our planet with broadband Internet. In these endeavors, the company Ilona Mask is not alone. For example, the above OneWeb company has already launched 6 of its 650 satellites. Amazon also recently announced plans to build and bring 3,236 satellites under the Project Kuiper project, which will be used for the same purposes.

The permission from the FCC will allow SpaceX to launch at least half of the satellites planned by it over the next six years.

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