Spacex He submitted a request to operate 30,000 satellites, which will be added to another 12,000 already planned, the US space company and the UN agency confirmed on Wednesday.
The US Federal Communications Commission (CCC) sent on October 7 to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in Geneva, 20 applications, each for 1,500 satellites, confirmed to AFP news agency. Alexander Wallet, ITU Space Services Manager.
The 20 documents can be found on the ITU website, which coordinates the worldwide spectrum of radio frequencies and orbits assigned to satellites.
A SpaceX spokesman did not directly confirm the number of satellites, but said the company had taken "steps to develop the overall capacity and density of the Starlink network data to cover the growth of anticipated user needs."
Starlake Will set up a constellation of mini-satellites that will provide instant access to Earth's Internet.
They will orbit at a relatively low altitude (550 km, first), allowing for a quick reaction time.
SpaceX launched the first 60 satellites in May, and said the constellation will be operational next year for Canada and the United States.
According to the company, another 24 launches will be needed to cover the rest of the world.
About 2,100 active satellites orbit today Earth, about 23,000 orbiting objects cataloged (inactive satellites, rocket phases, space debris, among others).
It should be noted that the prospect of adding another 42,000 items creates double concern.
On the one hand, astronomers fear this constellation of artificial satellites destroy telescopes on Earth. Above all, because when the first set of satellites was put into orbit, several astronomers took pictures of light at a time.
SpaceX has said that future satellites will have their base black colored to avoid this phenomenon and if necessary adjust the orbits of their satellites so as not to harm the work of astronomers.
The second concern is possible congestion of the low Earth orbitthat is, the area where objects circulate 2,000 km or less.
SpaceX said 3 of the top 60 satellites, 5%, were out of service a month after launch, but that it is at the forefront of systems to mitigate space debris generation and that it can "deter" responsibly those devices. to avoid collisions.
An incident last month, however, made it clear that the procedure for landing unsuccessful satellites was not yet ready to be applied.