SpaceX just overcame a key bureaucratic obstacle to its hyper-ambitious plan for a global satellite internet system.
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved SpaceX’s request to launch 7,518 internet-broadcasting satellites. That’s in addition to an approval it granted the Elon Musk-led spacetech venture back in March for 4,425 satellites, bringing the total the company can launch to almost 12,000.
Musk says that the Starlink satellite constellation will maintain a line of sight to everyone on Earth, providing global internet connectivity — an entrepreneurial pitch that clearly resonated with the FCC’s current leadership.
“I’m excited to see what these services might promise and what these proposed constellations have to offer,” FCC chairman Ajit Pai said during the announcement, citing the commission’s interest in encouraging “the private sector to invest and to innovate and allow market forces to deliver value to American consumers.”
The FCC’s approval is conditional, though. SpaceX only gets to launch the full number of satellites if it manages to get half of them off the ground by 2024.
Still, the approval was a triumphant moment for SpaceX, maybe even one worth shouting about from a watchtower made of dirt bricks — so long as your French accent is on point, of course.”
READ MORE: FCC Approves Spacex’s Plan to Launch More Than 7,000 Internet-Beaming Satellites [The Verge]
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