By B.N. Frank
Broadband connections can be achieved via safer and more secure methods than tens of thousands more satellites being launched which are contributing to already dangerous levels of space junk as well as making it increasingly difficult for astronomers to conduct research (see 1, 2). In regard to Starlink satellites, there always seems to be issues with them. Earlier this year the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed that SpaceX be fined for not properly reporting launch data of its Starlink satellites (some of which have burned and fallen to the ground). Last year it was revealed that speed from Starlink satellites was slowing down everywhere. Of course, some may not consider those issues to be nearly as problematic as them having to maneuver every 10 minutes to avoid collision!
SpaceX Satellites Forced to Swerve Every 10 Minutes
That’s an average, based on 25K avoidance maneuvers reported in 6 months
By Steve Huff, Newser Staff
Space is unimaginably vast, so you’d think there would be more than enough room for whatever you want to put into orbit. SpaceX and Starlink engineers would likely tell you it’s not that simple. An FCC report filed by the Elon Musk-led satellite internet provider on June 30 indicated the 4,000-plus Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit completed more than 25,000 collision avoidance maneuvers in the period between December 1, 2022, and May 31, 2023. Gizmodo explains what triggers such a movement, with SpaceX having explained that it would move its Starlink satellites if the chance of hitting space debris or another satellite exceeded 1 in 100,000.
As Space.com reports, the numbers contained in the FCC report work out to be an average 137 course adjustments a day, or one about every 10 minutes. And the problem isn’t going to improve over time. Astronautics professor Hugh Lewis says we’re seeing exponential growth in these maneuvers. “Every six months, the number of maneuvers that are being made doubles,” and “if you project that out, you’ll have 50,000 within the next six-month period, then 100,000 within the next, then 200,000, and so on.”
This means Starlink satellites will need to be increasingly more nimble, with Lewis projecting that within five years, “Starlink satellites will have to maneuver nearly a million times in a half-year to minimize the risk of orbital collisions.” Add to that SpaceX’s goal of ultimately launching a total of 42,000 satellites, per Gizmodo, and suddenly near-Earth orbit is a very crowded place to be. (Starlink’s internet satellites aren’t the only ones challenged by this overcrowding.)
Activist Post reports regularly about broadband, space vehicles, and unsafe technologies. For more information, visit our archives.
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