SpaceX Seeks FCC Nod to Test Starlink’s Space-Based Communication System

SpaceX, the brainchild of tech mogul Elon Musk, is making strides in its quest to bring cellular services from space to the masses.

The aerospace company recently submitted a request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking approval for testing its Starlink satellite-based cellular system.

If greenlit, this system would pioneer the transmission of text messages, voice calls, and data directly from space using radio airwaves provided by T-Mobile.

SpaceX Seeks FCC Nod to Test Starlink's Space-Based Communication System

The filing, brought to light by PC Mag, outlines SpaceX’s pursuit of “special temporary authority” to deploy 840 satellites equipped with cellular systems.

These satellites would communicate with around 2,000 test devices on the ground.

Notably, SpaceX plans to have 60 satellites operational at any given time, marking a significant leap toward realizing the collaborative vision shared by SpaceX and T-Mobile.

The joint ambition, announced with much fanfare a year and a half ago, aims to address connectivity challenges in remote and underdeveloped regions.

By leveraging the expansive satellite network, the project seeks to eliminate dead zones that conventional ground networks struggle to cover effectively.

This potential boon for connectivity, especially in hard-to-reach areas, underscores the significance of SpaceX’s endeavor.

However, the journey to this point has not been without obstacles.

SpaceX Seeks FCC Nod to Test Starlink's Space-Based Communication System

The one-year anniversary of the project’s announcement passed quietly amid a notable lack of progress updates.

Last month, SpaceX attempted to expedite testing approval, prompting objections from AT&T and the Rural Wireless Association.

These entities insisted on adherence to the standard vetting process, expressing concerns about potential interference with existing cellular services.

In response to these concerns, SpaceX sent a letter to the FCC in July outlining the benefits of its space-based service and assuring measures to prevent interference.

Despite these assurances, AT&T and the Rural Wireless Association remained steadfast in their opposition.

This opposition follows AT&T’s successful 5G phone call test from space in September, further underscoring the competitive landscape in space-based communication.

The latest request to the FCC is a formalized effort by SpaceX, taking the necessary steps through the established process.

In the filing, SpaceX provides certification of non-interference and commits to taking reasonable measures to address any interference that may arise during testing.

As the quest for space-based communication services continues, SpaceX navigates the regulatory landscape, striving to turn its ambitious vision into a tangible reality.

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