The US Supreme Court upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision approving SpaceX’s plan to launch Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit. The company’s plan is to offer the world space broadband internet.
SpaceX received FCC approval in 2021 to launch 2,824 satellites into low Earth orbit. The company would thus provide high-speed broadband Internet services to people who currently do not have access to the Internet. Competitors Viasat Inc and DISH Network Corp challenged the FCC’s approval.
The company Viasat said that it believes that “the decision is a step back for the safety of space and for the protection of the environment”, reports Reuters.
Also, the Viasat company states that the court forced the FCC to address “complicated issues surrounding the placement of mega-constellations in low Earth orbit, so that adverse impacts that could last for decades or centuries could be avoided.” In addition, the company states that the SpaceX satellite deployment plan was massive, noting that “for comparison, approximately 10,000 satellites, in total, have been launched throughout human history.”
In the court ruling, it was established that “Viasat operates only one satellite that flies close to the constellation of the company SpaceX, and that “such a theory is too speculative”.
Dish notes that the ruling does not change FCC rules that prohibit SpaceX and other operators from interfering with television services provided by satellite operators. “We will remain vigilant to ensure that SpaceX operations do not harm our satellite customers,” the company said.
On the other hand, American carrier T-Mobile US has announced that it will use SpaceX’s Starlink satellites to provide mobile users with network access in all parts of the US. In addition, the company announced plans to connect users’ mobile phones directly to satellites in orbit.
Since 2019, the company SpaceX has launched almost 3,000 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit, thereby surpassing its competitors OneWeb and Project Kuiper of the Amazon company.
Last month, the FCC rejected SpaceX’s request for $888.5 million in subsidies for Internet services after they were awarded funding in 2020.