SpaceX is trying to dispel worries that its cellular Starlink service threatens to interfere with other satellite and ground-based services.
On Wednesday, the company sent a 16-page document to the Federal Communications Commission, explaining why the cellular Starlink service will benefit US consumers and not pose a radio signal hazard.
SpaceX filed the document after the FCC called on the company to provide more details and address the interference concerns. Specifically, the Commission asked if SpaceX can shut down the satellite transmissions in the event interference occurs.
In response, SpaceX tells the FCC: “In the unforeseen and unlikely case that harmful interference occurs, SpaceX is capable of ceasing transmissions from the satellite.” The company adds that each “active satellite transmission chain” can be individually turned off upon receiving commands from SpaceX’s ground control.
“SpaceX’s direct-to-cell network and topology software can re-plan the network in near real-time, allowing it to quickly cease operations by all satellites and over any number of geographic areas,” the company says.
The cellular Starlink system will essentially turn the company’s satellites into orbiting cell towers, which can then beam data to unmodified smartphones on the ground. SpaceX’s first partner on the system is T-Mobile, which has secured radio spectrum over the 1.91 to 1.995GHz bands to transmit the cellular data.
To prevent interference, the company developed software that’s both smart and fast enough to fine-tune the satellite radio transmissions. “SpaceX will leverage efficient beam-planning software to ensure that its PCS G Block (radio signal) operations do not cause in-band or cross-border interference, consistent with T-Mobile’s license obligations,” the company says in its filing.
SpaceX is aiming to start launching satellites to support the cellular Starlink service as soon as possible, if the company…
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