SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched on Aug. 31 deploying 46 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit.
The launch happened at Vandenberg Space Force Base in Santa Barbara County, California as part of SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s push to offer space-based broadband internet.
In 2021, Elon Musk’s SpaceX won Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval to fly 2,824 satellites at a lower orbit to provide high-speed broadband internet services to people who currently lack access.
Competitors Viasat Inc and DISH Network Corp challenged the FCC approval, but a U.S. appeals court recently upheld the FCC decision.
Viasat said it believes the “decision is a setback for both space safety and environmental protection.”
Last Thursday, U.S wireless carrier T-Mobile said it would use SpaceX’s Starlink satellites to provide mobile users with network access in parts of the United States, outlining plans to connect users’ mobile phones directly to satellites in orbit.
The new plans will exist alongside T-mobile’s existing cellular services.
SpaceX has launched nearly 3,000 low-Earth-orbiting Starlink satellites since 2019, handily outpacing rivals OneWeb and Amazon.com Inc’s Project Kuiper.