A recent report suggests that SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, is on track to generate a revenue of $9 billion, with projections for operating profits. The company’s new venture, Starlink, a satellite internet service provider, is now contributing significantly to the revenue. SpaceX has plans to further expand the venture by launching Starlink cellular service, which will offer satellite-based messaging and internet facilities to smartphones. Although the service is scheduled to be launched in 2024, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has sent a series of questions to SpaceX, expressing concerns regarding certain matters.
The FCC has shared an additional set of questions with SpaceX to gain a better understanding of how this cellular service will impact the functioning of other satellites. The main concern revolves around the possibility of interference when Starlink cellular service operates in the 1910 to 1995MHz radio bands. The FCC has requested an interference analysis from SpaceX, including link budgets, to calculate the difference in interference in clear sky and adverse weather conditions. This analysis should consider the worst-case scenario of all satellites transmitting simultaneously and the potential loss of service by other authorized satellite and terrestrial operators in that area.
Frequency interference has been a significant concern since the initial batch of Starlink satellites was launched into low-Earth orbit. To provide the cellular service, Starlink will collaborate with T-Mobile, and the FCC aims to understand the short-term and long-term impact.
Additionally, the FCC has asked SpaceX to provide a map with projected beam coverage for the United States, information on power levels within specific geographic areas, details about SpaceX’s capability to cease emissions on command, and an explanation of how SpaceX will prevent the operation of a handset outside the service area of its partner terrestrial operator.
SpaceX has been given until November 17 to provide the requested information, upon which the FCC will make a decision regarding approval.