One of the smarter methods we’ve seen in the quest to bringing the world’s population online is satellites.

While there are a number of companies which specialise in beaming internet from space to Earth, SpaceX is looking to join them with thousands of broadband satellites.

When the firm first introduced the idea called Starlink, it proposed flying 4 425 satellites at altitudes between 1 110km to 1 325km. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US approved the proposal last year however, approval was conditional on SpaceX coming up with a debris mitigation plan.

As you might be aware, humanity has a lot of junk above us and adding thousands more satellites would likely aggravate the problem.

So SpaceX applied for permission to fly a portion of its satellites at a lower altitude and that permission was granted by the FCC last week.

SpaceX will now be allowed to fly 1 584 satellites at an altitude of 550km on condition it files a detailed debris mitigation plan for the satellites above those.

It appears as if SpaceX has that somewhat covered according to a report by Ars Technica. The report states that SpaceX has designed its satellites to burn up when re-entering the atmosphere preventing you and I from getting bonked on the head by falling satellites.

There is also an upside for users at this lower altitude. Latency will be reduced to 15ms from the 25ms – 35ms latency SpaceX says would be seen at 1 150km up.

The main concern at the moment however is that SpaceX’s satellites would encounter more atmospheric drag. Because of this drag, the satellites would have to “work harder” to remain in orbit.

Once again, the firm is confident it can overcome this challenge.

All in all, SpaceX has permission to put 12 000 broadband satellites into orbit though we have no idea when we can expect to see that launch.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]