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Rapid Satellite Cluster Raises Concerns

On Monday 60 satellites were successfully deployed by SpaceX on one vehicle. The corporation from Elon Musk had launched such a project for the second time in less than a year that has contributed to a drastic increase for satellites.

Within the next year, SpaceX and one of its competitors, OneWeb, are going to be putting hundreds of interconnected satellites into orbit so that the high-speed Internet can be provided to every location on the planet. Yet critics are concerned with the fact that weak regulations, poor infrastructure and Elon Musk’s accelerated ideals would contribute to anarchy.

Tim Farrar, the President of TMF Associates, a satellite communications consulting and research firm, states that “If things break in space, it’s pretty difficult to solve that problem,” he also adds that “It’s not like your car breaking down on the side of the road.” Damaged satellites, or what is left of them, are becoming a major challenge, especially in low Earth orbit, which is the target for the Starlink network from SpaceX. In January, the European Space Agency reported that there is close to one million pieces of junk around the world greater than 1 cm (about 3-eight inches).

SpaceX says it plans 24 more deployments in the next year, contributing to that already crowding upper atmosphere. In September, ESA’s Aeolus Earth monitoring spacecraft had to engage its manoeuvring propellers to prevent colliding with a Starlink satellite deployed in May. Holger Krag, director of the ESA Space Debris department found this event an illustration of just how “in the absence of traffic regulations and procedures, prevention of collisions completely relies on the prudence of satellite operators,” he said. “However that hasn’t convinced Musk, whose ambitious vision is to launch 1,600 satellites into orbit

SpaceX, therefore, plans to move fast. Shortly to launch another 60 satellites in the near future and add later on OneWeb says, however, that even more than 30 satellites will also, every month set to begin next year. Hugh Lewis, an orbital debris specialist in the UK at Southampton University, who served as a OneWeb contractor, says “The scale of these systems is unprecedented.”

Lewis notes that the likelihood of crashes that would scatter shrapnel throughout the low earth orbit will increase with the launch of all of the new satellites.

However, he does not know how big a problem it could be because nobody has attempted such a thing before. He has been trying some experiments to try and find this out. Moreover, SpaceX assures that they have measures put in place to prevent such collisions, but only time will tell

This post was originally published on Food and Beverage Herald

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