SpaceX’s satellite Internet worries Brazil’s military

The National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) analyzes five applications for licenses from technology companies that plan to offer internet via satellite in Brazil. However, these plans have raised concern among the Brazilian military.

That’s because companies must launch at least 4,800 low-altitude satellites to provide Internet in locations beyond the reach of telephony and fiber optic operators. Some names involved are SpaceX, Kepler, OneWeb, Swarm and Lightspeed.

Elon Musk’s company alone wants to launch more than 4,400 satellites that will fly over Brazil. To this end, it intends to invest US$ 30 billion by 2029 in the construction of Starlink, a network of equipment spread around the planet at a distance of approximately 570 km from the ground.

The equipment can remain in Earth orbit for up to 10 years. Each round around the planet lasts a maximum of two hours. Along the way, the equipment will maintain internet connections throughout the countries, through a permanent relay between them.

Concern about satellite constellation

Starlink Constellation may interfere with private and government communications.  (Source: Satellitemap.space/Reproduction)Starlink Constellation may interfere with private and government communications. (Source: Satellitemap.space/Reproduction)Source: Satellitemap.space/Reproduction

Governments and telecommunications companies, especially TV broadcasters and telephone operators that have satellites fixed to Earth more than 35,000 km from the surface, are watching SpaceX’s plans with caution.

Regulatory agencies in the UK and Germany have placed this type of business under strict scrutiny. In Brazil, the Ministry of Communications assesses the advance of technology as positive, but the military has shown concern with the arrival of satellites.

Technicians from the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), which is responsible for organizing and controlling orbital space over Brazil, believe that such a wide network of low-altitude equipment can interfere with the launch of rockets and satellites at the Alcântara Base (MA).

The military also fears that the new technology could infer the Brazilian geostationary satellite SGDV, launched in May 2017 and used for national security purposes.