Nov 15, 2018

SpaceX gets federal approval to launch 7,000 satellites into orbit

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

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 1,007,997 — Total deaths: 52,771 — Total recoveries: 210,055Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 236,339 — Total deaths: 5,648 — Total recoveries: 8,861Map.
  3. 2020 update: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus.
  4. Jobs latest: The coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state
  5. Public health latest: FDA allows blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Judge declines to delay Wisconsin April 7 primary, extends absentee deadline

Photo: Darren Hauck/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election, saying he doesn't have the authority to do so.

Why it matters: Wisconsin is the only state scheduled to vote next Tuesday that has not yet delayed its primary.

Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus

Photo: Mai/Mai/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly relieved the captain of nuclear aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt after he sent a letter to officials pleading for help when members of his crew contracted the coronavirus.

The big picture: Capt. Brett Crozier's four-page letter was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this week, quickly garnering national attention after Crozier pleaded for more resources and space to quarantine crew members offshore.