FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said at the meeting that the new satellites are "smaller and less expensive to launch than the traditional geostationary satellites that have been going up since the 1960s".
However, the approval does come with a big condition set by the FCC in that SpaceX must launch nearly 6,000 of the satellites into orbit by 2024.
The FCC voted to grant "market access" requests to Telesat, Kepler, and LeoSat MA, to offer high-speed internet service and connectivity for sensors and other intelligence devices. At that altitude, SpaceX says atmospheric drag would pull spent satellites down in one month, assuaging concerns about the magnitude of debris that that many satellites could create in higher orbits.
The Commission granted SpaceX's application with certain conditions, authorizing SpaceX to construct, deploy, and operate a new very-low-Earth orbit constellation of more than 7,000 satellites using V-band frequencies.
Unless a waiver is granted, the FCC requires 50 percent of the satellites to be deployed within six years after giving the approval.
Musk said in a 2015 speech that SpaceX planned to launch a satellite-internet business that would help fund a future city on Mars.
"It will offer high-speed internet in remote areas and global connectivity through "routers in space" for data backhaul". But the FCC denied the request, saying that "SpaceX has not provided sufficient grounds for a waiver of the Commission's final implementation milestone requirement". In theory, they could provide speeds and latency similar to fiber optic cable. The company is building its satellites in-house.
SpaceX has gotten the permission it needs to launch more than 7,000 satellites into orbit as part of its enormous Starlink constellation.
In the meantime, several other companies - including Arlington, Va. -based OneWeb - are also racing to build satellites and start launching their own constellations to provide broadband internet access. To prevent the orbital debris, the FCC soon will come up with the rules for the satellite industry. The systems are expected to enable fixed satellite broadband service in the United States, as well as support increased global connectivity for broadband and IoT services. Since then, eight thousand objects have been sent to the world in space since then. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai explained in his statement that the applications and their constellations offer the promise of introducing "variety in the burgeoning field of non-geostationary satellite services and innovative solutions to bridging the digital divide".
The number of satellites orbiting Earth from all nations stood at 1,886 in August, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists policy group.