Here's why researchers are worried about Elon Musk wanting to launch another 30,000 satellites

Here's why researchers are worried about Elon Musk wanting to launch another 30,000 satellites
First set of Starlink satellites launched into spaceSpaceX

  • SpaceX is asking permission to launch another 30,000 satellite for its internet grid, the Starlink constellation.
  • This will bring the total number of satellites in Starlink upto 42,000.
  • Researchers are concerned that this will overcrowd earth's orbit and obstruct the view of on-ground telescopes.
Elon Musk's aerospace company, SpaceX, is already launching 12,000 satellites to set up its Starlink satellite constellation. And now, it's asking for permission to launch another 30,000 satellites to form the internet grid.

Researchers are worried that this will impair the view of on-ground telescopes monitoring space in addition to overcrowding in the low-Earth orbit (LEO).

Currently, there only 2,100 active satellites in orbit over the planet. Even if inactive satellites, space junk and other objects are included, the total is still at 23,000.

In comparison, SpaceX's 42,000 satellites will be double the amount of space objects in orbit around Earth right now.

SpaceX's expansion of the Starlink satellite


"SpaceX is taking steps to responsibly scale Starlink's total network capacity and data density to meet the growth in users' anticipated needs," stated the company's spokeswoman.

Expecting an increase in the demand for internet, SpaceX has submitted 20 new filings with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) — the organization responsible for managing the radio spectrum frequencies and satellites that orbit Earth.

Each filing asks for 1,500 more satellites to go into space.

According the SpaceX, the aim is to set up a series of small satellites — the Starlink constellation — to allow for lower latency between internet services provides and their customers.

The company has already launched the first 60 satellites in May and plans to have the network operational for Canada and northern US by 2020.