Starlink satellites are already causing orbit problems, and it will only get worse

Starlink satellites are already causing orbit problems, and it will only get worse

Elon Musk has already made a difference to space and automotive, and now one of his SpaceX projects is to provide access to efficient Internet for everyone. However, the road to this is not all roses and it may end badly with this type of news, because SpaceX’s Starlink satellites can boast of an infamous achievement.

SpaceX’s problematic Starlink satellites are on the lips of many

As Earth’s low orbit becomes increasingly crowded, collisions between satellites will become more and more likely over the years. Therefore, space agencies around the world are constantly tracking both active and inactive satellites, as well as more than 22,000 pieces of space debris, in the hope of avoiding such an event. According to an estimate by the European Space Agency, there are now 7,520 satellites in space and orbits, meeting each other, and when they pass each other at a distance of at least 1 km, this is known as a “close meeting”.

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According to Hugh Lewis, a space junk expert at the University of Southampton, the number of close encounters has skyrocketed in the past two years, and SpaceX’s business is a large part of that. It turns out that the Starlink satellites have 1,600 close meetings each week and are also responsible for 500 meetings with other satellites in space, and it will only get worse, because SpaceX has only launched 1,740 satellites, and is ultimately to place as many as 12,000 in orbit in the first decade of its operation .

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The operation of the Starlinks is also a problem, because they are designed to autonomously avoid collisions, so when they are threatened, they simply change their course and enter a new trajectory that other satellites are not aware of. In addition, SpaceX does not publish information about the maneuvers of its satellites, although it constantly introduces minor corrections, which further increases the chances of a collision, and each of them ends with an even greater chance of new ones.

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