Boeing hopes to launch the Internet from space via satellite
Boeing hopes to launch the Internet from space via satellite

The Federal Communications Commission approved a satellite internet project first proposed by Boeing in 2017. The company can now continue to build, launch and operate its own high-speed internet from space, joining the ranks of its main competitor, SpaceX.

Boeing's plan is to put 132 satellites in low Earth orbit at an altitude of 1,056 kilometers. Another 15 satellites were launched into non-geostationary orbits at altitudes between 27,355 and 44,221 km.

The company hopes to use satellites while building the network to provide Internet and broadband communications services to consumers, governments and businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Once completed, it will be available worldwide.

All 147 satellites are broadcast on the V band, which is a sector of wireless spectrum higher than the Ka and Ku bands used by SpaceX's Starlink network or Amazon's Project Kuiper satellites.

Using the V band results in faster data transfer rates. However, it has a higher risk of interference, as higher frequencies make it more difficult to penetrate solid objects.

SpaceX plans to use V-band on some future satellites and OneWeb. The Ka and Ku bands are also used by satellites to provide in-flight Internet access to commercial airlines.

Use 147 satellites to broadcast the Internet around the world

SpaceX has previously raised concerns that launching Boeing's proposed low, crowded orbit would increase the risk of collision with other satellites.

SpaceX told the communications committee in 2019 that the Boeing network could pose a significant risk of disruption.

SpaceX's Starlink satellite orbits the Earth at an altitude of about 550 kilometers, where the OneWeb satellite constellation is located online. Earlier this year, OneWeb and SpaceX were only able to avoid a collision.

Boeing now has 6 years to launch half of the satellite constellation and 9 years to deploy the entire network.

The company has asked the FCC to relax these requirements. You would like to promise to launch five satellites in the first six years and launch the entire constellation in twelve. But the committee refused this request.

In contrast, SpaceX and Amazon's network plans are much larger, each involving thousands of satellites.

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