Following SpaceX and Amazon, Boeing has also received approval from the US aviation authority FCC to launch a network of internet satellites into orbit around the Earth. The satellites must provide broadband internet in remote areas.
Boeing plans to launch 132 satellites into low Earth orbit at an altitude of 1,056 kilometers. In addition, fifteen more will be launched that will go further afield, at an altitude of between 27,355 and 44,221 kilometers.
The company plans to offer internet first in the United States, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Ultimately, the internet should be available all over the world.
Boeing asked for approval from the FCC in 2017, but did not get it at the time. SpaceX also got in the way: Elon Musk’s space company asked the FCC to limit or cut Boeing’s plans altogether, due to potentially “harmful malfunctions.” Now that Boeing has approval, it is not yet known when the first satellites will be launched.
Other companies also have big plans for Internet satellites. SpaceX is the furthest and now has seventeen hundred satellites in the sky, allowing the first users on Earth to use the internet. Amazon also has plans for space internet with its ‘Project Kuiper’. The company’s first satellite will be launched next year.
“Advanced satellite broadband services have an important role to play in connecting hard-to-serve communities,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “We are committed to a careful and detailed review of all such applications and I thank the International Bureau team for their work completing this first round of NGSO applications.”
Today’s Order approves Boeing’s application for non-geostationary orbit fixed-satellite service system using frequencies in portions of the V-band (the 37.5-40, 40-42, 47.2-50.2 and 50.4-51.4 GHz bands), and to operate inter-satellite links (ISLs) using frequencies in portions of the V-band (65-71 GHz band). It also dismisses Boeing’s request to operate ISLs in certain frequency bands that are not allocated internationally for operations of the FSS in the space-to-space direction in the ITU Radio Regulations.