SpaceX asks US approval to launch 4,425 broadband satellites


US-based aerospace firm SpaceX has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking approval to launch 4,425 telecommunication satellites into low-earth orbit.

First announced by the company last year, the proposed satellite network is expected to provide high-speed internet coverage worldwide.

In addition, SpaceX is planning to launch some extra satellites for emergency operations.

In the application, the company said that it initially would provide commercial broadband service in the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands by launching 800 satellites.

"It initially would provide commercial broadband service in the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands by launching 800 satellites."

However, SpaceX has not given any details of the timeframe regarding the launch and the beginning of service, reported Los Angeles Times.

Between $10m and $15m is estimated to be invested in the satellite network, which will feature satellites measuring 13ft in length and around 6ft in width, as well as 19ft-long solar arrays.

SpaceX has already opened an office in Redmond, Washington, to develop the satellites.

The company further noted that the satellites would be designed to have a lifespan of five to seven years, and around a year after its mission, the satellites would re-enter Earth’s orbit and be destroyed in the atmosphere.

OneWeb and Boeing are currently also developing similar internet-via-satellite networks, reported Reuters.

The internet-via-satellite system can replace the existing space-based system that is equipped with cable, fibre-optics and other terrestrial internet access.