June 4, 2023

On Friday, an appeals court upheld Elon Musk’s plans for SpaceX to deploy some Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit.

The initial approval comes from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2021.

SpaceX’s plan is part of a push to bring space-based broadband internet to people who don’t currently have access to internet service.

Plans to fly 2,824 satellites in lower orbits are opposed by rivals Viasat Inc. and DISH Network Corp.

SPACEX launches another 46 STARLINK satellites into orbit

Elon Musk with the SpaceX logo

SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk. ((Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)/Getty Images)

Viasat said it believes “this decision is a setback for both space safety and environmental protection.”

The company added that if the court forced the FCC to resolve “the complex issues surrounding the deployment of megaconstellations in (low-Earth orbit), we believe the detrimental effects that could have persisted for decades or even centuries could be avoided.”

SpaceX launches in Florida

In April 2022, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a payload of 53 Starlink satellites lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Reuters/Steve Nesius/Reuters Photo)

In a court filing, Viasat noted that SpaceX’s deployment plans are huge, noting that “by comparison, approximately 10,000 satellites have been launched in human history.”

“We will remain vigilant to ensure SpaceX’s operations do not harm our millions of satellite customers,” DISH said.

MUSK’s SPACEX partners with T-MOBILE to eliminate ‘dead zones’

SpaceX had no immediate comment.

SpaceX and T-Mobile announce service plans

SpaceX founder Elon Musk and T-Mobile CEO and President Mike Sievert talk about satellite phone plans. (Space Handout)

Last week, T-Mobile US and SpaceX announced they were teaming up to bring cellphone service to remote areas via Starlink satellites.

stock code Safety Last Change Change%
very small aperture terminal Viasat 38.58 -1.70 -4.22%
plate Dish Networks 17.61 -0.95 -5.12%

The companies said the service would reduce the need for cell towers and would Extended cell service to areas that do not currently exist.

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The new service is expected to begin texting in a beta phase that begins late next year.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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