SpaceX has submitted a mysterious application to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for the use of 29,988 satellites, reports PCMag.
ITU is a global regulator that oversees the allocation of radio frequencies for satellite providers. Therefore, SpaceX’s application may be an attempt by the company to expand the radio frequency range before the Starlink upgrade.
The document states that the satellites are planned to be used in 288 orbital planes at altitudes ranging from 350 to 614 km. It is noteworthy that initially, the ITU website did not mention SpaceX in this context. Instead, there was information that the application came from the Kingdom of Tonga. However, the union later confirmed that it was SpaceX.
“ITU cannot, however, confirm that this filing is for additional satellites, it may be for additional frequencies,” a spokesman for the agency told PCMag.
Experts believe that this application is an attempt by the company to modernize Starlink in the face of growing competition.
“Partly this is an attempt to just grab spectrum that no one else is thinking about yet,” said satellite communications consultant Tim Farrar.
His opinion is confirmed by the fact that SpaceX’s application mentions the use of satellites for communication in the frequency range from 123,000 MHz to 174,500 MHz, which Starlink does not yet work with.
As a reminder, SpaceX has been awarded a contract by the US Space Force, according to which the company will provide satellite communications to the military as part of the Starshield program. It is expected to provide services using its Starlink network of communication satellites.