Soon, SpaceX will have more satellites circling the earth than anyone else. The FCC just gave Elon Musk’s company permission to launch more than 7,000 satellites (or for fans of specificity, 7,518 satellites) into space. The satellites will fill the night sky as part of the company’s Starlink program, which aims to provide satellite-based broadband internet.
According to Bloomberg, since there are currently fewer than 2,000 operating satellites, SpaceX’s new additions will dominate space. That will help the company create its “constellation of satellites” to provide internet services to rural locations, but it will also create a lot of traffic in the stars. So much traffic that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had no choice but to reference the 2013 film Gravity in which the world lost George Clooney due to space junk. To help fight a space junk traffic jam, while approving SpaceX’s applications, the agency also voted on a variety of space-related matters, including debris rules.
The FCC’s approval of the plan isn’t particularly surprising. Back in March, it made SpaceX the first U.S.-based company to receive a license to construct, deploy, and operate its own satellite constellation. SpaceX has said it plans to begin launches next year, and soon we’ll all be able to wish upon a satellite (for faster internet).