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Boeing gets OK for satellite grid to provide internet from space

·1-min read
A NASA TV video frame grab shows the SpaceX Falcon 9 fourth Starlink constellation after entry burn, before it separates, after it launched at Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 29, 2020. Boeing has just won approval for its satellite constellation to provide internet services from space (AFP/Handout)

Boeing on Wednesday gained US authorization for a project to launch satellites that will provide internet services from space.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in a statement it had approved a license for the aerospace giant "to construct, deploy, and operate a satellite constellation" that will "provide broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and professional users in the United States and globally."

"Advanced satellite broadband services have an important role to play in connecting hard-to-serve communities," said Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC chairwoman.

The FCC gave the green light for 147 satellites, the vast majority of which will be in low orbit: 132 could be placed at an altitude of about 600 miles (1,000 km), and 15 would be much higher, between about 17,000 and 27,000 miles.

The service will first be available to clients in the United States and then around the world.

"Boeing sees a multi-orbit future for satellite technologies," the aerospace company said in a statement.

"As the demand for satellite communications grows, diversity will be required across orbital regimes and frequencies to satisfy unique customer demands, and we see V-band as helping to provide some of that diversity," Boeing added.

Other satellite constellation projects are already being rolled out by competing companies.

US billionaire Elon Musk, head of the space company SpaceX, has already put more than 1,500 satellites into orbit to create the Starlink network, while Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has a similar project called Kuiper.

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