SpaceX has filed documents with telecommunications authorities that reveal its plans to launch 30,000 small satellites into space. The number, roughly triple the amount ever launched by humans in history, adds to the already 12,000 approved by telecommunications companies for SpaceX to shoot into space.
The most recent documents were filed last week with the International Telecommunication Union, a UN agency that coordinates the launch of satellites.
The documents reveal that SpaceX founder, Elon Musk, plans to launch 20 batches of 1,500 satellites at a time into space.
Mr Musk’s plans will need to jump through the hoops of several other telecommunication and space bodies before SpaceX gets the go-ahead.
Thus, it may be several years until the satellites are fully launched into the Earth’s near space region.
Of the 12,000 already granted permission, 60 have been deployed into space.
The satellites are used to create a wireless internet service called Starling.
The aim of this is to blanket Earth in a mesh of high-speed, low-latency and affordable internet access.
Even partial deployment of Starlink would help those back on Earth, with it being thought that the financial sector would benefit dramatically, as well providing more rural areas of the planet the opportunity to get in touch with the World Wide Web.
This orbital debris has in the past sparked fierce debate about satellite deployment and space missions as the Earth’s gravitational pull is effectively home to thousands of pieces of space junk.
SpaceX has assured that its satellites will refrain from adding to this problem and has also announced that it is in the process of making the satellites black in order to reduce their impact on astronomy.
Though, despite measures to reduce the impact of their presence, the number of satellites proposed is unprecedented.
This will undoubtedly cause risks, claims Hugh Lewis of the University of Southampton.
He said: “With that many satellites, there does need to be a very, very close look at the collision risk, disposal and re-entry risks.
“SpaceX will have learned a lot from their first generation of 60 Starlinks, but the more satellites you have in a given volume of space, the more close approaches you will have.”
Last month, Mr Musk updated keen followers on SpaceX’s Starship’s development and where the company was at with what is hoped to accommodate the first manned mission to Mars.
Mr Musk tweeted out a string of photos of the partly finished stainless-steel vehicle being lifted onto a transporter.
The tech entrepreneur also addressed several questions that had been put to him by followers.
He explained that the prototype will stand at 165 feet and will weigh 1,400 tons when filled up.
But, he said he was aiming to get the ships weight down to a mere 120 tons by the time later models have been built.