A U.S. appeals court upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) approval of a SpaceX plan to deploy some of its Starlink satellites at a lower than planned earth orbit, Reuters reported. In 2021, SpaceX asked to fly 2,824 Starlink satellites in the lower orbit where it already operates over 1,000 spacecraft. According to the report, competitors such as Viasat and Dish Network challenged the FCC’s approval.
Preventing SpaceX from operating its satellites in a low earth orbit isn’t the only thing Dish Network had been trying to do. The company is also trying to block Starlink from using the 12 GHz band even though the FCC had already granted SpaceX’s request to do so. Dish has been trying to block SpaceX from using this band since 2021.
Starlink, which provides internet services to its customers, is also helpful during disaster relief. The service has kept Ukraine online after Russia took out its satellites. Starlink has also helped with areas affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
In May, Ukraine’s Digital Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, said that around 15,000 people in Ukraine were using Starlink’s internet service every day. He added that Starlink was crucial support for the country’s infrastructure and for restoring destroyed territories.
The news of the U.S. appeals court siding with SpaceX over the challenges to the FCC’s decision posed by competitors comes just after SpaceX and T-Mobile announced their technology alliance. Last night, Elon Musk and T-Mobile CEO, Mike Sievert announced the new alliance that has the goal of ending mobile dead zones. The two companies will launch a new mobile service that is enabled by Starlink’s second-gen satellites and T-Mobile’s bandwidth.
Not only will this end mobile dead zones, but will be critical for areas impacted by natural disasters, a topic that Elon Musk mentioned last night.
“Even if an entire region or country lost connectivity because of a severe hurricane or floods or fires or tornadoes, earthquakes there’s so many natural disasters.”
“Even if all the cell towers were taken out your phone would still work.”