SpaceX has applied to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for the launch of almost 30,000 new Starlink satellites. The new satellites will operate at an altitude of 350–614 km in 288 orbital planes.
SpaceX has formally asked ITU to launch an additional 29,988 new satellites into orbit for its Starlink. The company is reported to be using the Pacific island nation of Tonga as a source of regulation and is using TongSat, which is seeking to profit from the satellite industry.
According to the filing, the satellites will operate in the W-band, which is the microwave part of the frequency range, and operates in the 75-110 GHz and just above the V-band, reports Advanced Television. W-band is increasingly favored by High Throughput Satellites. SpaceX’s application states that the new satellites will operate at an altitude of 350–614 km in 288 orbital planes.
In December 2022, SpaceX asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve the launch of 29,988 new satellites. The regulator refused to approve all but 7,518 satellites and asked for more detailed information. SpaceX’s filing at the time drew opposition from companies including Viasat, Hughes Network Systems, Amazon Kuiper Project, SES O3b, Kepler Systems, NASA, and others. Additionally, the approval of 7,518 satellites came with a warning not to expect a quick response or approval for the remaining satellites.
SpaceX voluntarily abandoned plans to build the already approved 7,518 satellites using V-band spectrum, subject to the FCC allowing a new application to include V-band frequencies in “Gen-2” projects. In April 2023, SpaceX again submitted a new request to the FCC to launch a total of 29,988 new satellites.
By launching these additional satellites, SpaceX aims to strengthen its Starlink network. Starlink is a satellite constellation project whose goal is to provide global broadband internet coverage. By expanding its satellite fleet, SpaceX will be able to increase the reliability and capacity of its network, ultimately providing affordable internet access to underserved regions around the world.