Before the Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology, SpaceX's vice president of government affairs Patricia Cooper talked about technology advancements like dynamic beam forming, phased array antennas in space and on the ground, and optical inter-satellite links to establish a "mesh network" in space.
Having a company that is capable of securing cost-efficient broadband internet via satellites to anyone on Earth no matter the location sounds almost too good to be true. But the plans are real. In her statement, Patricia Cooper explained that SpaceX plans to launch one prototype before the end of the year and another during the early months of 2018. If all goes well, the company will begin the operational satellite launch campaign in 2019.
Helping expand access to high-speed, reliable, affordable and highly adaptable broadband internet connectivity in the United States and worldwide, the SpaceX system will consist of 4,425 satellites operating in 83 orbital planes, at altitudes ranging from 1,110 km to 1,325 km, but that's not all. Cooper added: »This system will be accompanied by ground control facilities, gateway earth stations, and end user earth stations. Using Ka- and Ku-Band spectrum, the initial system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and professional users worldwide.« In addition, the company filed for authority to operate in the V-Band spectrum as well, with an additional constellation of 7,500 satellites, positioned even closer to Earth.
Cooper also emphasized how important it is to modernize and streamline the FAA regulations governing commercial space launch. They are to be "updated to avoid obstructing industry growth and innovation in the U.S. domestic commercial space launch industry." In the end, not much can really be done without proper legislation.