SpaceX Files FCC Request to Launch 4,400+ Comm Satellites

HAWTHORNE, CALIF.—SpaceX is moving forward with its “satellite constellation” plan it first announced in January 2015, filing a request with the FCC to launch 4,425 satellites that will provide global broadband and communications services. The goal of this constellation is to give SpaceX full and continuous global coverage.

SpaceX satellite details from FCC filing

The request states that the satellites will operate on the Ku and Ka bands, which fall on the 12-18 GHz and 26.5-40 GHz ranges of electromagnetic spectrum. Using what SpaceX describes as “advanced phased array beam-forming and digital processing technologies,” the satellite payload will be able to use the Ku and Ka band spectrum while also sharing with other licensed users.

Designed to last between five and seven years, the low-Earth orbit satellites will be steered back to the ground using antenna beams, and operated using ground control facilities and user stations. Each satellite would way an estimated 850 pounds and could cover a distance of about 1,300 miles.

The filing estimates that when all the satellites are put into place the system would be able to provide high bandwidth at up to 1 Gbps per user.

SpaceX’s original goal for launching the satellites when first announced in 2015 was 2020, but no date was mentioned as part of the filing.