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Boeing finally wins the FCC’s go-ahead for broadband satellite constellation

4 Nov 2021, 01:47 UTC
Boeing finally wins the FCC’s go-ahead for broadband satellite constellation
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Artwork shows the geosynchronous-orbit variant of Boeing’s 702X satellite platform. (Boeing Illustration)
The Federal Communications Commission has authorized Boeing to put 147 satellites in orbit for a broadband internet constellation, adding to a list of competitors including Amazon, OneWeb and SpaceX.
Boeing’s constellation was proposed in 2017, but it took four years for the FCC to iron out the technicalities surrounding the plan. Most of the satellites will circle the globe at a height of about 650 miles. Fifteen of them will go into highly inclined orbits at an altitude between 17,000 and 27,500 miles.
To comply with the requirements laid out in the FCC’s order, half of the satellites will have to be launched by 2027, with the rest in place by 2030.
Boeing’s aim is to provide high-speed satellite data services to consumers on a global basis — echoing the goals set for SpaceX’s Starlink service, OneWeb’s constellation and Amazon’s Project Kuiper, among others. SpaceX is currently leading the pack by providing limited service via more than 1,600 satellites. OneWeb is due to begin limited service this winter, and this week, Amazon asked the FCC to authorize the launch of its first two prototype satellites next year.
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