SpaceX is requesting permission from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to launch 30,000 additional satellites for its planned Starlink satellite broadband network.
The company already has permission to launch 12,000 satellites for this purpose, but SpaceX wants to expand its potential network substantially.
According to SpaceNews, the satellites would operate between 328 and 580 kilometres above Earth.
The FCC, on behalf of SpaceX, has submitted 20 filings to the ITU, each requesting permission to launch 1,500 satellites, an ITU official told SpaceNews.
SpaceX launched its first 60 Starlink satellites in May 2019, and plans to potentially launch over 1,000 more over the course of the next year.
Whether SpaceX would actually launch anywhere close to these 42,000 satellites remains to be seen.
If it was to achieve this, it would have launched multiple times the total number of satellites that have been launched since 1957 – which stands at about 8,500 currently.
Tim Farrar, a telecommunications analyst and critic of SpaceX, believes that the latest filings by SpaceX are intended to “drown the ITU in studies” while it continues with its projects.
SpaceX did not respond to this allegation, but released a statement on its intentions regarding the scaling of its Starlink network.
“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.”