NASA on SpaceX Satellite Deployment Plan

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently raised concerns on SpaceX’s plan to deploy around 30,000 satellites for its Starlink.

What concern NASA has raised?

  • SpaceX had previously received authorisation for around 12,000 satellites to offer broadband internet. It also requested for authorisation of a second-generation constellation of 30,000 satellites.
  • However, NASA raised concerns with potential for a significant increase in frequency of conjunction events and possible impacts to science & human spaceflight missions of NASA.
  • NASA is of the view that, there are currently 25000 objects tracked on-orbit and 6100 objects below 600 km. But SpaceX’s Gen2 expansion would double the number of tracked objects in orbit. It would also increase the number of objects below 600 km by five-fold.

Number of Starlink active satellites

SpaceX had 1,469 Starlink satellites active while, 272 satellites are moving to operational orbits soon.

Concern raised by Amazon.com

Amazon.com has also pledged to spend about USD 10 billion for building 3236 such satellites under its Project titled ‘Kuiper program’. Amazon also raised concerns with the FCC about SpaceX’s plan. As per Amazon, under SpaceX’s application around more than ten thousand SpaceX satellites could operate at the same altitudes as Kuiper System. thus, it warned that, effect of orbital overlap would dramatically increase risks and other burdens on Kuiper System.

About Starlink

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation. It is operated by SpaceX. It provides satellite Internet access coverage to most of the Earth. This constellation has grown to more than 1,700 satellites through 2021. It will further comprise of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO). These satellites would communicate with designated ground transceivers. As of January 2022, beta internet service is available across 25 countries.

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