Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…

Companies Propose Launching 8,700 Satellites into Non-Geosynchronous Orbit

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
November 29, 2016
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OneWeb satellite. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

OneWeb satellite. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

While SpaceX has received most of the attention for its plan to launch more than 4,000 broadband satellite network, the constellation makes up just over half the number of spacecraft that companies have proposed placing in non-geosynchronous satellite orbit (NGSO).

Companies have filed applications with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 8,731 NGSO communications satellites. While most of the constellations would provide broadband and communications services, others would collect Earth observation data.

According to the International Telecommunications Union, NGSO spacecraft “occupy a range of orbital positions (LEO satellites are located between 700km-1,500km from the Earth, MEO satellites are located at 10,000km from the Earth), and do not maintain a stationary position, but instead move in relation to the Earth’s surface.”

SpaceX leads the pack with 4,425 spacecraft, followed by Boeing with 2,956 and WorldVu (aka, OneWeb) with 720. Boeing has a second application before the FCC for a constellation with 60 satellites.

The table below provides a summary of the applications filed with the FCC.

SpaceX Hawthorne, CA 4,425 Ka, Ku Global broadband
Boeing Seattle, WA 2,956 V Advanced communications, Internet-based services
WorldVu (OneWeb) Arlington, VA 720 Ku Global broadband
Kepler Communications Toronto, ONT 140 Ku Machine-to-machine communications (Internet of Things)
 Telesat Canada Ottawa, ONT 117 Ka  Wide band and narrow band communications services
 Theia Holdings A, Inc. Philadelphia, PA 112 Ka Integrated Earth observation and communications network
Spire Global San Francisco, CA 100 Ka Maritime monitoring, meteorological monitoring, and earth imaging services
 LeoSat MA Pompano Beach, FL 80 Ka Broadband services
Boeing Seattle, WA 60 Ka Very high speed connectivity for end-user earth stations
 O3b Washington, DC 60 Ka Broadband services
ViaSat  Carlsbad, CA 24 Ka, V Broadband services
 Karousel LLC Alexandria, VA 12 Ka Communications
Audacy Communications Walnut, CA 3 K, V Data relay constellation providing satellite operators with seamless access to NGSO satellites
Space Norway AS Oslo, Norway 2 Ka, Ku Arctic broadband