. 24/7 Space News .
Fury over 'space junk' mounts as Musk set to launch 60 satellites for Starlink
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (Sputnik) Jan 29, 2020

A batch of Starlinks on route to their operation orbit.

Starlink is a vast satellite constellation conceived by American company SpaceX to provide Internet access to remote parts of the globe. It potentially comprises up to 42,000 small satellites.

Elon Musk's SpaceX is preparing to launch 60 Starlink "internet satellites" into space on 29 January amid critics' fury over the resulting "wall of space junk" flooding Earth's orbit.

The Starlink satellites are tightly packed into a 229-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket, which is currently on a launchpad at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

It's scheduled to liftoff early Wednesday morning to carry the satellites into space, where they will orbit 341 miles above Earth, in a launch originally set for 27 January, but postponed over strong winds.

The current launch comes amid a flurry of disapproval, as critics from the ranks of the astronomy community have been repeatedly voicing concerns that humanity could be trapped on Earth by a "wall of space junk" cluttering up Earth's orbit.

As close to 200 satellites have already been launched, with the tech billionaire given the green light to send tens of thousands more into orbit, some scientists suggest Musk's plan, albeit rooted in good intentions, could generate catastrophic space clutter, eventually blocking rockets from leaving Earth, in an effect dubbed the "Kessler syndrome".

Amid fears sparked by the fact that thousands of years would be required for any SpaceX satellite left in Earth's orbit to descend and burn up in the atmosphere, Dr Stijn Lemmens of the European Space Agency was quoted by Scientific American as saying:

"The worst case is: You launch all your satellites, you go bankrupt, and they all stay there. Then you have thousands of new satellites without a plan of getting them out of there. And you would have a Kessler-type of syndrome."

Mega-constellations like Starlink will results in 67,000 potential collisions per year, aerospace engineer Glenn Peterson warns.

"This is something we need to pay attention to... We have to be proactive," MIT Technology Review quotes the scientist as saying.

Earlier, prominent theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Siegel wrote in Forbes that Elon Musk's SpaceX satellites are being sent into orbit so frequently that "it will likely end ground-based astronomy as we know it," by polluting the night sky to a degree when ground-based observatories worth hundreds of millions of dollars could be rendered useless.

Siegel also cited an incident in September 2019 in which the European Space Agency had to move one of its satellites out of the way to protect it from colliding with a SpaceX Starlink satellite.

Against the chorus of concerned voices, the company has said it's been taking measures to avoid drastic scenarios.

Thus, SpaceX says it has been launching satellites into a lower orbital plane to avoid collisions.

In a bid to allay concerns of the "debilitating threat" to astronomical infrastructures, SpaceX and Elon Musk have issued statements, promising to reduce the albedo (brightness) of the satellites, and adjust orientation on demand for astronomical experiments.

On the issue of the satellites' operating solar panels, which deliver a reflection of the sun's light back to earth, CEO Elon Musk insists they are programmed to go dark when stars are visible.

Elon Musk had also responded in late May last year that he had requested Starlink designers to make their satellites less reflective, with the company reportedly pledging to paint the Earth-facing side of its satellites black.

As of November 2019, SpaceX had deployed 122 satellites, with a total of nearly 12,000 satellites to be deployed by the mid-2020s. The number may possibly be extended to 42,000.

Elon Musk's plan is to build a "mega-constellation" of Starlink satellites to ensure that internet users across the world could have 40 times faster internet speeds in any part of the globe.

Source: RIA Novosti

Related Links
The latest information about the Commercial Satellite Industry

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Satellite constellations harvest energy for near-total global coverage
Ithaca NY (SPX) Jan 13, 2020
Think of it as a celestial parlor game: What is the minimum number of satellites needed to see every point on Earth? And how might those satellites stay in orbit and maintain continuous 24/7 coverage while contending with Earth's gravity field, its lumpy mass, the pull of the sun and moon, and pressure from solar radiation? In the mid-1980s, researcher John E. Draim proposed what is generally considered to be the ideal solution: a four-satellite constellation. However, the amount of propellant nee ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

In Davos, the spectre of a tech cold war

Indian astronauts to begin training in Russia for country's first manned space mission

NASA awards contract for intelligent systems research

Russian cosmonauts aboard ISS kick off 'terminator' experiment

Russian Space Agency confirms plans to launch nuclear-powered space tug by 2030

First Spacebus Neo satellite launched

Stennis Space Center sets stage for Artemis testing in 2020

Russia to supply US with six RD-180 rocket engines this year

Mars' water was mineral-rich and salty

Russian scientists propose manned Base on Martian Moon to control robots remotely on red planet

To infinity and beyond: interstellar lab unveils space-inspired village for future Mars settlement

Nine finalists chosen in Mars 2020 rover naming contest

China to launch more space science satellites

China's space station core module, manned spacecraft arrive at launch site

China to launch Mars probe in July

China's space-tracking vessels back from missions

SpaceX launches fourth batch of Starlink satellites

Fury over 'space junk' mounts as Musk set to launch 60 satellites for Starlink

Second space data highway satellite set to beam

Europe backs space sector investment with EUR 200 million of financing

A better building block for creating new materials

Protein pores packed in polymers make super-efficient filtration membranes

Tethers Unlimited reports successful operation of space-debris removal device

Crab-shell and seaweed compounds spin into yarns for sustainable and functional materials

AI could deceive us as much as the human eye does in the search for extraterrestrials

NESSI comes to life at Palomar Observatory

For hottest planet, a major meltdown, study shows

How Earth climate models help scientists picture life on unimaginable worlds

Looking back at a New Horizons New Year's to remember

NASA's Juno navigators enable Jupiter cyclone discovery

The PI's Perspective: What a Year, What a Decade!

Reports of Jupiter's Great Red Spot demise greatly exaggerated

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.