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SpaceX says likely won’t need 42,000 satellites for Starlink internet

Paris: SpaceX, which has requested authorisation to deploy up to 42,000 satellites to provide its Starlink satellite internet service, probably won’t need to launch that many into orbit, its chief operations officer said Monday.

Starlink — the satellite internet service of tech billionaire Elon Musk — offers high-speed broadband service to customers in areas that are poorly or not served by fixed-line or mobile telecoms operators via a constellation of satellites in low earth orbit.

“We definitely want to put up more satellites as more people want to use the service,” Gwynne Shotwell told reporters.

“I don’t think we’ll need 40,000 satellites to provide good service globally,” she added.

Next generation satellites equipped with bigger antennae and with better capacity such as those SpaceX is getting ready to launch into orbit mean fewer are needed, Shotwell said.

A sharp rise in the number of satellites especially at several hundred kilometres in altitude has sparked fears about low earth orbit congestion.

Astronomers have raised concerns about their impact on ground-based astronomy.

SpaceX has deployed nearly 3,000 Starlink satellites since 2019. AFP

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