President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said the problem caught the company by surprise
SpaceX completed its second launch of 60 Starlink satellites Nov. 11, making its own system the largest commercial telecommunications satellite constellation in orbit.
The goal is to complete six to eight Starlink launches to get sufficient coverage to start offering the service to consumers in 2020.
Shotwell: “We’re talking to the Army about Starlink and Starship."
The FCC, on SpaceX’s behalf, submitted 20 filings to the ITU for 1,500 satellites apiece in various low Earth orbits, an ITU official confirmed Oct. 15 to SpaceNews.
Satellite operators want to participate in a newly proposed $20.4 billion rural broadband program, but say the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s scoring criteria for signal lag puts them at a disadvantage.
SpaceX is asking federal regulators to allow it to spread out Starlink satellites in more rings around the Earth.
ESA said Sept. 2 it maneuvered one of its Earth science satellites to avoid a potential collision with a SpaceX Starlink satellite, the first time the agency said it’s had to maneuver to avoid a satellite associated with a broadband megaconstellation.
The failure of at least five percent of the first batch of SpaceX Starlink satellites has put a spotlight on the growing concerns that satellite megaconstellations could litter low Earth orbit with hundreds of dead satellites.
Three of the 60 satellites SpaceX launched last month to begin its broadband megaconstellation have lost contact with ground control teams, a SpaceX spokesperson said June 28.
Despite complaints by individual astronomers and astronomical organizations, legal experts say there is little they can do under existing federal law and regulations to halt the deployment of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites.
The 60 satellites SpaceX launched eight days ago for its Starlink broadband megaconstellation have powered up and contacted ground stations, the company said.
The filings show SpaceX sold all but $18.8 million of the shares available between the two rounds. The company raised $1.022 billion in total.
The rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, and deployed the satellites into a low Earth orbit a little over an hour later.
SpaceX says Starlink satellites will directly receive Air Force tracking data and use that to tweak their orbits when presented with the risk of a collision. Space debris experts say the probability of a collision varies on a case-by-case basis, making automation difficult.