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SpaceX wins FCC approval to test Starlink ground stations in 6 states



Hawthorne, an astronaut launch service provider and astronaut equipment manufacturer Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) plans to diversify its operations by launching an Internet network consisting of non-geostationary satellites and ground-based stations. Named Starlink, this network is intended to operate on its own by using lasers for the transmission of data between satellites to ensure global coverage.

SpaceX’s plans for Starlink are, however, subject to control by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has yet to decide whether to maintain the company’s preferential access to certain frequency bands. In addition, the Commission also wants to change its mind that Starlink is of an “experimental” nature; a change that will qualify the network to receive funds from the U.S. government to provide Internet access to users in rural areas.

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To that end, Starlink has just achieved a major victory for the FCC as the regulator has awarded SpaceX Services Inc. temporary authority to operate Starlink ground stations located in six U.S. states. Approval comes in the wake of SpaceX’s decision to send the Special Temporary Authority (STA) application to the FCC in mid-June.

SpaceX granted temporary authority to operate Starlink ground stations in California, Minnesota, Idaho, Alabama, Georgia and Montana

For the initial stage of Starlink launch, SpaceX will have to use terrestrial earth stations to operate the network and provide users with the ability to connect to internet servers. The company asked the FCC to allow it to temporarily operate six ground stations in different U.S. states to test these ground stations and satellites, to try to get the network to work as expected once commercially launched later this year. year.

The six ground stations for which SpaceX has received FCC approval are located in Hitterdal, MN; Tionesta, CA; Robertsdale, AL; and Baxley, GA, Butte, MT; and Colburn, ID. To upload station data to Starlink satellites, the company intends to use the spectra of 28.6-29.1 GHz and 29.5-30.0 GHz and for downlink, intends to use the 17, 8-18.6 GHz and 18.8-19.3 GHz.

The Falcon 9 Block 5 (Booster B1049.5) with the eighth batch of Starlink satellites was lifted on June 4, 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (Image: SpaceX real-time streaming)

FCC approval also requires SpaceX to be responsible for any interference that may occur with existing users of the aforementioned spectrum bands. Specifically, they lean against SpaceX because of the facts. that if the company is responsible for not voluntarily interfering with other current users of the band and is not likely to receive any protection against such interference, if such interference occurs, SpaceX is obliged to stop broadcasting the station ground that is responsible for the occurrence and will proceed to inform the FCC of the event.

Each of SpaceX’s ground input stations has eight antennas manufactured by SpaceX at home. The antennas have smaller and larger diameters of 1.5 meters each, are 3.2 meters above ground level, have an input power of 50 W and an effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) of 66.5 decibel-watt. EIRP is an indicator of the maximum power of the antenna in one direction.

SpaceX’s STA period begins today and will last 60 days before the end of September. In narrating the application for authorization, the company directly related the grant to its ability to fine-tune Starlink to create a network capable of serving populations in areas that are normally deprived of Internet connectivity or where users have difficulty getting coverage. SpaceX is also required to coordinate with federal users of the frequency bands in which it has been authorized to operate, and approval comes as the company prepares to expand the number of Starlink satellites orbiting. the Earth by means of more launchings.




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