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A SpaceX launch. Photo: Bill Ingalis/Nasa via Getty Images

Elon Musk's SpaceX won permission from the Federal Communications Commission to launch 7,000 Starlink internet satellites into space, creating a path for the company to build a network of nearly 12,000 satellites surrounding the Earth and providing internet access, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The satellites could provide next-generation internet access to developing countries and rural areas that have struggled with connectivity over the years.

Details: The company has an initial goal of launching 1,600 satellites in the next few years, but said it could take more than six years to complete the full network.

  • SpaceX isn't the only company the FCC approved launches for: Kepler, Telesat and Leosat also received approvals to launch satellites, triggering a race to build the strongest network.

Yes, but: Despite the benefits, some regulators have concerns about the accumulation of junk in space. There are nearly 13,000 objects currently classified as space debris. The FCC launched a review of orbital debris mitigation rules in an effort to "help to preserve the space environment."

What they're saying: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the launches serve the public interest "across many areas of our economy, including the automotive, aviation, rail, maritime and agriculture industries."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Inside Patch's new local newsletter platform

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) local digital news company, has built a new software platform called "Patch Labs" that lets local news reporters publish their own newsletters and websites, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: It follows a growing trend of journalists going solo via newsletters at the national level.

Scoop: Politico stars plot new Playbook

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Three of Politico’s biggest reporting stars plan to launch a competitor to the company’s Politico Playbook franchise, sources tell me. 

Why it matters:  Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan will launch a daily newsletter in 2021 as a stand-alone company, the sources say. In effect, they will be competing against the Playbook franchise they helped create and grow. 

Ben Geman, author of Generate
31 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Big Oil's big reckoning

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There doesn't seem to be an oil major that's got it all figured out between the pandemic, cloudy demand and price outlooks, and the unknown path through a world getting a bit more serious about climate.

Driving the news: ExxonMobil yesterday afternoon showed the latest signs of its struggle to position itself as it announced large write-offs and a big rethink of long-term spending.