SpaceX, the aerospace launch service provider and equipment maker, has revealed new details about its Starlink Internet satellite constellation in a new filing with the Federal Communications Commission,media reported. The details, provided by company officials in a presentation to the FCC on Wednesday, build on information the company shared with the agency early last month to persuade the FCC not to strip it of access to the Starlink satellite’s 12GHz spectrum.
David Goldman, SpaceX’s head of satellite policy, revealed the information Friday in comments filed in the FCC’s RM-11768 register. The dispute over the 12GHz spectrum between providers of non-stationary fixed satellite services (NGSO FSS) and providers of multi-channel video and data distribution (MVDDS) must be shared under current rules.
The dispute intensified when SpaceX filed a request with the FCC in April to reduce its Starlink satellite orbit. After this request, MVDDS suppliers argued that if Starlink satellites were allowed to do so, the resulting communication between the user terminal and the satellite would interfere with the operation of MVDDS.
SpaceX has set aside a 12GHz band for communication between user terminals and satellites under Starlink Communications’ spectrum allocation program, and the company said the disputes are based on unfounded reasons because suppliers have not set up any devices to use the band.
SpaceX’s latest report to the FCC provides some new details about the company’s future plans for Starlink. According to the data, the company plans to launch 120 new satellites into orbit each month, and also plans to produce thousands of user terminals per month. So far, SpaceX has launched at least 120 satellites into orbit in January 2020 alone and at least 115 satellites in June 2020 and August 2020.
Another important part of this week’s discussions between SpaceX representatives and FCC officials is the company’s intention to actively build satellite ground stations across the United States. These sites will complete the connection between the user terminal, the Starlink satellite, and the Internet server.
On this front, the satellite operator has been busy submitting applications to the FCC to allow it to broadcast from these earth stations, not only for testing Internet networks, but also for final deployment. By early July, documents filed with the FCC’s International Bureau showed that SpaceX had applied for Earth station approval in about 24 U.S. states.
Since then, the company has added four more states to its filings with the FCC. They are Florida, Tennessee, Kansas and South Carolina, while SpaceX has applied for new Earth stations in Vernon, Utah, and Kuparuk, Alaska.
SpaceX also confirmed that Starlink’s user terminals will have both Ethernet and WiFi connectivity. The FCC has approved SpaceX’s Starlink router, which will support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz and be manufactured in Taiwan.
SpaceX, which is busy testing other Earth stations after winning FCC approval, tested earth stations in July at Highdal, Minnesota, Tionesta, Arizona, Robertsdale, Arizona, and Baxley, Georgia, Butte of MT and Colburn of ID.