Two test satellites set to enter space during Saturday Falcon 9 launch

Elon Musk’s Space X wants to use satellites to provide broadband internet service. And the plan this week got a key endorsement from U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai.

In a statement, Pai said satellite-based broadband services like what’s proposed by Space X are the type of “innovative technologies” needed to “bridge America’s digital divide. Satellite technology can help reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach. And it can offer more competition where terrestrial internet access is already available.” Pai called on the other four FCC commissioners to join him in supporting the plan.

The two test satellites are a secondary payload on a launch planned for Saturday, the primary purpose of which is to put an imaging satellite into orbit for the Spanish government, according to reports and filings with the FCC.

In previous documentation sent to the FCC, Space X described the test objectives, which include validation of a “phased array broadband antenna communications platform,” as well as testing “communication paths utilizing six broadband array test ground stations located in the western United States, as well as three transportable ground stations that will be deployed near the fixed ground station locations.”

Space X intends to use the Ku Band, 12 GHz to 18 GHz, for its test.


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