On November 15, through collective voting for promotion of broadband access competition, approval has been granted by United States’ Federal Communications Commission to four proposed satellite companies. By this approval U.S. broadband market will be served with satellite-delivered services by the 8,000 authorized small telecom satellites from low Earth orbit.
For Telesat of Ottawa, Canada, to expand its constellations in rarely used V-band spectrum with more satellites already approved last year and for SpaceX of Hawthorne, California stage will be set by the new regulatory approval. Other two of the companies which succeeded to get approval are Netherland’s LeoSat for its 78 Ka-band satellite and a startup Kepler Communications, Canada for its 140 Ku-band satellite.
To extend broadband services to non urban areas, space-based data backup and for IoT connectivity, all the four companies are in the pursuit of setting up of non-geostationary orbit constellations of satellites.
SpaceX, with in-house facility of satellite building, is intending to use the proposed satellites to organize and operate a worldwide broadband service. Operating at “very low Earth orbit” or VLEO constellation of below 350-kilometers, with its 7,518 satellites, certainly SpaceX is the largest among the four companies. Prior to getting its initial constellation of 4,425 satellites to be approved from FCC, in February SpaceX launched its two prototype satellites.
Telesat after facing destruction of its first prototype in November 2017 due to failure of Soyuz rocket has succeeded to orbit its second prototype in January 2018 through Indian PSLV.
Kepler, after launching its first prototype in January 2018 through Chinese Long March 11, has been planning to orbit its second prototype on an Indian PSLV in November.
LeoSat has given up its plans of launching two prototype satellites next year and decided to team up with Japanese investor Sky Perfect Jsat and Thales Alenia for on-ground tech validation, to save the costs.