The delivery of two Starlink demo satellites deployed on February 22, 2019, launch of Spain’s PAZ aperture radar imaging satellite system can be seen through a camera mounted on Falcon 9’s upper stage.
SpaceX sought approval from U.S. telecom regulators was approved to lower the orbit of its nearly 1600 broadband satellites.
On April 26, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission reported that they have agreed to the proposal of SpaceX for changing the orbit position of their satellite from 1,150 kilometers to 550 kilometers from the surface. The adjustment which was requested six months ago will go towards creating a safer environment in Space. Any defunct satellite, due to its drag will reenter into Earth’s atmosphere without any need of propulsion-based maneuver’s. The lower orbit would also result in creating distance between Star link and its rival internet array of satellites proposed.
FCC is a regulatory body which approves satellite companies which provide communications services in the US. SpaceX was granted a market access in March 2018. Initially acquiring a contract of 4,425 satellites by Ku- and Ka-band spectrums, which was raised to 7,518 satellites using V-band spectrums by November. SpaceX’s new plans are applicable to the smaller of the two constellations.
The lowering of few satellites will result in 16 less spacecrafts overall, which will achieve signal latencies as low as 15 milliseconds.
SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell commented that this approval demonstrates the confidence of FCC in SpaceX; whose recent plans include launching its next gen satellite constellations and bring people closer by providing them with reliable and cost-effective broadband service. The production of Starlink has already commenced, and the initial set of the satellites have already been prepared and are ready for the final phase of the launch.
SpaceX has estimated that the new orbit will gradually increase the effectiveness of the operation and deploy whole set before set time.