SpaceX Planning to Launch 30,000 Additional Satellites to ‘Starlink’ Mission

SpaceX’s constellation of Starlink internet satellites may be expanding beyond the 60 the company launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida in May.

Starlink stack


Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filed paperwork with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on behalf of SpaceX, requesting permission for the production and deployment of 30,000 Starlink satellites, Space News reported.

The filings reflect SpaceX’s bullishness on the prospects for expanding high-speed internet access to the billions of people around the world who are currently underserved — and its determination to stay ahead of competitors who have their own plans to launch thousands more broadband satellites.

“As demand escalates for fast, reliable internet around the world, especially for those where connectivity is non-existent, too expensive or unreliable, SpaceX is taking steps to responsibly scale Starlink’s total network capacity and data density to meet the growth in users’ anticipated needs,” a SpaceX spokesperson explained in a statement.

SpaceX’s requests came to light in the form of 20 coordination requests passed along to the ITU on Oct. 7 by the Federal Communications Commission, with 1,525 orbital planes specified in each request. Such requests generally come in the early stages of the regulatory process, with follow-up action taken by the ITU and the FCC.

So far, SpaceX launched the first batch of about 60 Starlink satellites earlier this year to begin testing its broadband service. The astronomical community immediately became concerned over the bright, noticeable train of the flying routers. SpaceX said at the time that the satellites would become less noticeable as they rose to a higher altitude and oriented themselves for operation.

Starlink could begin offering service to the Northern United States and Canadian latitudes as soon as 2020 before expanding to other parts of the world with 24 planned future launches.