The Federal Communications Commission has approved SpaceX’s request to launch a constellation of 7,518 satellites into orbit, a major regulatory hurdle the company needed to clear in its plans to provide internet coverage from space. The approval is in addition to one that SpaceX received from the FCC in March for a constellation of 4,425 satellites. That means the company now has permission to launch its full satellite internet constellation called Starlink, which adds up to nearly 12,000 spacecraft.
Starlink is SpaceX’s ambitious project to provide constant, global internet coverage from orbit. The spacecraft in the constellation are meant to do a synchronized dance above the Earth, allowing for every part of the Earth’s surface to have a direct line of sight of at least one satellite at all times. The project is expected to cost $10 billion to develop, and SpaceX aims to have the constellation operational by the mid-2020s.