In support of SpaceX’s efforts to provide space-based broadband internet, a U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to authorise a plan to place some Starlink satellites at a lower Earth orbit than originally intended.
In 2021, the FCC gave Elon Musk’s SpaceX permission to launch 2,824 satellites at a lower orbit to bring high-speed broadband internet to individuals who don’t currently have access to it. Competitors DISH Network Corp. and Viasat Inc. (VSAT.O) contested the FCC’s decision.
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The decision, according to Viasat, “is a setback for both space safety and environmental conservation,” the satellite company stated on Friday.
The business added that negative effects that might have otherwise persisted for decades or possibly centuries may have been prevented if the court had ordered the FCC to address “complex concerns regarding deployment of mega-constellations in (low-earth orbit)”.
According to Viasat, the SpaceX deployment plan is extensive; “by way of comparison, approximately 10,000 satellites, overall, have been launched in all of human history,” the company said in a court filing.
Viasat only has one satellite that flies close to SpaceX’s constellation, according to the court decision, which also stated that “This hypothesis of injury is simply too speculative.”
Dish emphasised that the ruling does not alter FCC regulations forbidding SpaceX and other operators from interfering with satellite operators’ television services. DISH stated, “We will continue to be watchful to make sure that SpaceX operations do not harm our millions of satellite customers.
SpaceX did not respond right away.
As part of its aspirations to connect users’ mobile phones directly to satellites in space, U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) announced on Thursday that it will use SpaceX’s Starlink satellites to give mobile users network access in some areas of the country.
The brand-new plans will coexist with T-current mobile’s cellular offerings.
In comparison to competitors OneWeb and Amazon.com Inc.’s Project Kuiper, SpaceX has launched roughly 3,000 low-Earth orbiting Starlink satellites since 2019.
The FCC conditionally approved SpaceX’s Starlink petitions for $885.5 million in internet service subsidies last month, but they were denied.