According to internet provider Intelsat, the internet satellites SpaceX seeks to deploy could potentially interrupt the services provided by Intelsat’s own fleet. Intelsat’s concerns make a lot of sense, because SpaceX has divulged very little information about the technological specifications of its satellites.
Intelsat therefore requested that the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) reject the application recently filed by SpaceX. Intelsat proposed instead that the FCC ask Elon Musk’s company to disclose additional details.
After Space X denied these claims have any merit, Intelsat general counsel Susan H. Crandall appealed to the FCC for a greater need for transparency:
SpaceX has failed to show that it would not interfere with licensed geostationary satellites…The information that SpaceX is seeking to withhold is the kind of basic information that is routinely, and publicly, filed by other satellite operators (both GSO and NGSO) in applications seeking FCC authorizations. The information withheld is critical to any analysis of potential interference.
SpaceX seeks to deploy these satellites in order to blanket remote regions with internet service. Google and Facebook have announced similar plans.
But why internet satellites?
You might be wondering how such an expensive, time-consuming investment could benefit these companies, but the reason is simple: more than half the world’s population has no access to basic internet services. Google and Facebook could experience nearly limitless growth by providing access to those who currently have none.
Internet satellites could help SpaceX create the framework for an eventual communications network that could handle the rigors of a mission to Mars, and add a source of much-needed revenue.
After a recent string of setbacks to the company’s plans to reduce the cost of space travel, SpaceX clearly has a long road ahead.
Let us know what you think. Should SpaceX comply with Intelsat’s desire for more information? Should the FCC deny SpaceX’s application to deploy a fleet of internet satellites?