60 Starlink satellites inside the Falcon 9 payload fairing. (Credit: Elon Musk)
SpaceNews reports that SpaceX has filed spectrum allocation paperwork with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for up to 30,000 additional Starlink broadband satellites.
The FCC, on SpaceX’s behalf, submitted 20 filings to the ITU for 1,500 satellites apiece in various low Earth orbits, an ITU official confirmed Oct. 15 to SpaceNews. SpaceX deployed its first 60 Starlink satellites in May and plans to launch hundreds — potentially over a thousand — more in the year ahead. The ITU, a United Nations entity, coordinates spectrum at the international level for satellite operators to prevent signal interference and spectrum hogging. National regulators submit filing on behalf of their country’s satellite operators.
The 30,000 satellites are in addition to 12,000 medium-orbit Starlink satellites already approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Elon Musk’s company is planning up to four additional Falcon 9 launches of Starlink satellites by the end of the year. Dates for those flights have not been publicly announced. Additional launches would follow in 2020.