Earth’s orbital space is littered with thousands of satellites, probes, landers, cargo craft, crewed spacecraft, and space station flight elements – approximately 8,500, as reported by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs back in April. This littering of Earth’s outer space has been going on since October 4, 1957 when the first satellite, Sputnik, was launched by Russia, known then as the USSR.
Now, SpaceX has filed a request with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), for the arrangement of spectrum for 30,000 more Starlink satellites. This is in addition to the 12,000 Starlink satellites that have already been approved by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
On SpaceX’s behalf the FCC submitted 20 fillings of 1,500 satellites for each filling to the ITU for a variety of low Earth orbits. This was confirmed by the ITU on Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019 to SpaceNews.
This past May, SpaceX deployed its first 60 Starlink satellites and its plans are to launch potentially over a thousand in the next year.
The ITU is an entity of the United Nations and it coordinates orbital spectrum at an international level. Orbital spectrum is the placement of satellites into orbit and is used by service providers to bring about satellite based telecommunications, broadcasting and meteorological services.
The ITU’s coordination of orbital spectrum helps to prevent signal interference and hogging by satellite operators of orbital space. Each country must submit filings by its national operators on behalf of its country’s satellite operators.
This is all being done to bring faster internet services to consumers and users of the internet as well as to cover all areas all over the earth with telecommunication service with information technology (IT) and streams of data.
However, just because SpaceX has filed for 30,000 more Starlink satellites doesn’t mean it will all be approved. The filings are an early step in the deployment of a satellite system. These filings are often made years in advance before a company even plans to build a launch spacecraft.
SpaceX will be required to reveal more details about its satellite constellations the nearer it comes to launching them in order to receive FCC approval for access to offer to the US market broadband services as it did last May when it launched its 12,000 constellation of satellites.
SpaceX’s filings for an additional 30,000 satellites, disclose that they would operate in low Earth orbit altitudes that will range from 328 kilometers to 580 kilometers.
All of this is being done to meet the growth in internet user’s anticipated needs especially with the forthcoming 5G network offering lightning speeds of streaming data.