Elon Musk’s plan to put some of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites into lower Earth orbit was upheld by an appeals court on Friday.
Initial approval came from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2021.
The SpaceX Plan It was part of a space-based broadband offering for people who don’t currently have access to internet service.
Competitors to the plan to fly 2824 satellites into a lower orbit are Viasat Inc. and DISH Network Corp.
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Viasat said it believes “the decision is a setback for both space safety and environmental protection.”
The company added that if the court had forced the FCC to “resolve the complex issues surrounding the deployment of mega-constellations (in low-Earth orbit), we believe that harmful effects that would otherwise last decades or even centuries could be avoided.”
In the lawsuit, Viasat noted that SpaceX’s deployment plan was massive, noting “by comparison, only 10,000 satellites have been launched in all of human history.”
“We will remain vigilant to ensure that SpaceX operations do not harm our millions of satellite customers,” DISH said.
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SpaceX did not immediately comment.
This past week, T-Mobile USA and SpaceX announced that they are teaming up to boost cell phone service to remote areas via Starlink satellites.
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The companies said the service would and would eliminate the need for cell towers to expand mobile service to areas that do not currently exist.
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The new service is expected to launch with messaging in beta starting late next year.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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