Starlink, the satellite internet arm of SpaceX, won a partial probation from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by obtaining permission to launch ten satellites into polar orbit next month. SpaceX asked the FCC in November last year to allow it to target a December launch date, and this payment was at the center of the company’s controversial request to modify important parameters of the satellite constellation.
The FCC ruled SpaceX’s Polar Starlink satellite launch service that has attracted public attention because the company promised to extend Internet connectivity to farther regions
In the order issued yesterday, the FCC International Bureau has authorized SpaceX to launch 10 of the 348 satellites that SpaceX plans to operate at an altitude of 560 kilometers and an inclination of 97.6°. Orbital parameters are a hot topic of debate in the satellite industry, because other service providers, such as Amazon’s satellite division Kuiper and Kepler, are opposed to interference with the company’s own systems once they are fully deployed.
The launch is scheduled to take place on January 14. This will be SpaceX’s first ride-hailing mission in 2021. The company will bring satellites from several entities to sun-synchronous orbit. The mission will also include eight satellites from Kepler. The company has indicated to the European Commission that the eight Starlink satellites will be launched on the same mission as its own spacecraft. This fact constitutes a significant factor in the deployment of its own satellites at close range. Risk. Polar orbit.
The FCC rejected this claim, stating:
In view of the limited number of satellites discussed here and the propulsion capabilities of Starlink satellites, the upcoming deployment has no particular concern about the risk of collision between SpaceX and Kepler satellites.
The committee also asked SpaceX to ensure that the ten satellites do not cause interference and accept any interference they may receive. In addition, if Starlinks does cause interference, SpaceX is required to cease operations immediately.
|Each satellite:||twenty two||50||50||75||75|
|Inclination angle-(i):||53°||53.8°||74°||81°||70 degrees|
|Each satellite:||twenty two||twenty two||20||58||43|
|Inclination angle-(i):||53°||53.2°||70 degrees||97.6°||97.6°|
The European Commission is confident in SpaceX’s ability to actively maneuver its satellites to avoid collisions
In addition to Viasat, Kepler and others raised concerns about interference, they also raised concerns about orbital debris that might be generated if the modified Starlink satellite fails and collides with the spacecraft. These concerns are part of the opposition to the entire SpaceX modification, and in granting SpaceX a license to launch only ten satellites, the committee has determined that the risk of a collision is low, especially because SpaceX will actively manipulate its satellites.
Previously, SpaceX’s main satellite policy, Mr. Garnder Foster, confirmed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that if the agency agrees to his company’s request in November, SpaceX will include 10 satellites in the Transporter-1 mission payload. This confirmation was made after the mission was postponed from the initial launch date in December to January.
To support the ten-satellite payload requirement, SpaceX received support from an unlikely source in Alaska. This is in a letter written to the FCC by Jacob Calderwood, a music expert at Ipalook Elementary School in Alaska, urging him to approve SpaceX’s modification request as soon as possible.
School teachers criticize Amazon for opposing SpaceX’s Starlink modification
Mr. Calderwood cited the severe conditions his Alaskan students must face when trying to switch to distance learning after the pandemic. According to him, since the school closed in March last year, only 3% of students have been able to conduct distance learning-this is why he blamed this phenomenon on the high cost of internet access in the area, and attached his own internet bill as evidence . for.
Even more surprising is his criticism of Kuiper’s opposition to SpaceX’s modification of Starlink. He accused the company of delaying Internet coverage. If Starlink is fully deployed to Alaska, people may visit it. According to him,
What troubles me is that companies like Amazon’s Kuiper have moved to reject SpaceX’s request. They are late and have not fulfilled any real promises so far. Regarding the Internet in rural Alaska and the upcoming December launch window, time is of the essence. The sooner a company like SpaceX can conduct beta testing in Alaska, the better for everyone. During the pandemic, my students need to have the same Internet access rights as students in neighboring states.
Amazon’s concerns about the modification request involve multiple areas, including the tilt angle of the Starlink Earth station. Amazon believes that changing these angles will result in an astonishing 164% increase in Starlinks visible in Kuiper’s orbital shell, and overall, this modification has the potential to increase interference events by an average of 250%.
For its part, SpaceX has been focusing on Alaska since mid-2020, when the company asked the FCC to allow it to test services in the area. Spacelink has always emphasized before the FCC that expanding coverage to remote areas is one of Starlink’s priorities. It not only benefits the public but also federal users such as the US military.