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Press Statement 19-005

Statement on NSF and SpaceX Radio Spectrum Coordination Agreement


June 4, 2019

In late May, SpaceX launched its first 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. SpaceX plans to launch a much larger satellite constellation into low-Earth orbit with the goal of providing terrestrial internet service. The operation of these satellites will utilize frequencies that neighbor some radio astronomy assets in the 10.6 - 10.7 GHz band. SpaceX coordinated with NSF and its radio astronomy observatories regarding potential interference from their use of the radio spectrum. After working closely with SpaceX, NSF has finalized a coordination agreement to ensure the company’s Starlink satellite network plans will meet international radio astronomy protection standards, limiting interference in this radio astronomy band. Additionally, NSF and SpaceX will continue to explore methods to further protect radio astronomy. Together we are setting the stage for a successful partnership between commercial and public endeavors that allows important science research to flourish alongside satellite communication.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Public Affairs, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email: media@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, its budget is $8.1 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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