Technology

SpaceX changes broadband satellite plan to limit debris—and lower latency

An illustration of the Earth, with lines circling the globe to represent a telecommunications network.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Olena_T)

SpaceX has received Federal Communications Commission approval to halve the orbital altitude of more than 1,500 planned broadband satellites in order to lower the risk of space debris and improve latency.

SpaceX’s satellite project, named Starlink, aims to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband around the world. In a statement on the new FCC approval, SpaceX said that “Starlink production is well underway, and the first group of satellites have already arrived at the launch site for processing.”

SpaceX last year received FCC approval to launch 4,425 low-Earth-orbit satellites at several different altitudes between 1,110km to 1,325km. However, the FCC approval was contingent on SpaceX filing a more detailed debris mitigation plan.

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