SpaceX has filed a request with the International Telecommunication Union to obtain permission to launch 30,000 Starlink satellites into orbit, in addition to the already planned 12,000.
Elon Musk's space company has long been hatching plans to create a constellation of satellites of the global Internet. The first 60 units were launched in May this year, and now SpaceX engineers are testing them to work. So far, according to company representatives, everything is going according to plan. In the future, SpaceX wants to deploy 12,000 satellites in orbit at altitudes ranging from 328 to 580 kilometers.
But, according to recent filings with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), SpaceX intends to send another 30,000 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) in the coming years.
ITU was founded by the United Nations in 1865. Its main functions are to regulate information and communication technologies and to promote the creation of international telecommunications.
In essence, ITU is responsible for allocating portions of the global radio frequency spectrum and satellite orbits to prevent interference and to ensure the interconnection of communications networks.
According to some reports, a total of 20 requests were sent to the organization on behalf of SpaceX, each of which refers to 1,500 Starlink satellites that will be located on LEO. In addition, the documents reveal some of the technical specifications (such as frequency use) of the devices, but do not indicate when the company hopes to launch satellites.
Since the ITU approval is the earliest step in deploying a constellation of satellites, it is safe to say that these applications represent SpaceX's long-term plans to expand the Starlink program. However, once the applications are approved, SpaceX will have seven years to launch at least one satellite. This unit will then have to operate on the specified frequencies for 90 days. And of course, the fact that SpaceX has submitted 20 different applications could be seen as an indication that the company may not have plans to fulfill each of them.