The Wall Street Journal: FCC chief backs SpaceX plan for internet satellites

WASHINGTON — A top federal regulator on Wednesday recommended approving Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s plan to provide internet service through huge arrays of earth-orbiting satellites, in a move that could expand broadband availability across the U.S. and beyond.

The move gives a boost to the firm, known as SpaceX, and its founder, entrepreneur Elon Musk. SpaceX scored an attention-grabbing success last week with the test-launch of its massive Falcon Heavy rocket.

But questions still linger over the broadband project, and SpaceX officials have provided few details in public comments. SpaceX has said it plans to launch its first prototype satellite as early as this year aboard one of the company’s own rockets.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he had proposed that the agency approve the SpaceX application to use satellite constellations to provide broadband both in the U.S. and on a global basis. Fellow FCC commissioners will consider the matter in coming days.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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