Starlink satellites are a thorn in astronomy’s side – but are they also deadly? SpaceX responded angrily to the allegation in the FAA report.
FRANKFURT – There is currently only one large satellite constellation orbiting the Earth: the number of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit has long exceeded 4,800. This number is expected to rise significantly by 2035, with a total of twelve large satellite constellations orbiting Earth by then, for a total of approximately 55,000 satellites. Astronomy is already noticing a “worrying trend” and warns of the impact on research.
Now the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has one a report The publication, which addresses another risk posed by large satellite constellations – namely the risk of satellite parts falling to Earth as they reenter the Earth’s atmosphere. In it, the FAA states that given the large number of satellites expected, 28,000 pieces of hazardous debris are likely to fall to Earth each year by 2035 if parts of Starlink satellites survive falling through Earth’s atmosphere.
From 2035 onwards, one person could be injured or killed by satellite debris every two years
but this is not all. The report continues: “The number of people on Earth who could be injured or killed by debris is 0.6 per year. “This means that every two years someone on Earth could be injured or killed.”
Some of the debris may also pose a risk to aircraft, the report continues. “If you forecast global air traffic from 2019 to 2035 and assume that shrapnel that would injure or kill a person on the ground could also seriously damage an aircraft, the probability of a plane crash in 2035 would be 0.0007 per year.” The authors write in the FAA report.
SpaceX is defending itself against an FAA report on the risk of falling space debris
SpaceX doesn’t want to let that happen, especially since Elon Musk’s company says it hasn’t found any remains of the 325 satellites that have crashed since February 2020. In a message, from CNN QuotedSpaceX calls these claims “ridiculous, unjustified, and inaccurate.” Additionally, the report is “based on deeply flawed analysis and misrepresents the re-entry risks associated with Starlink,” according to reports. CNN tracking.
SpaceX reportedly continues to accuse Aerospace Corporation, the company that wrote the report on behalf of the FAA, of failing to conduct communications. SpaceX’s own analyzes and reports on the disposal of the Starlink satellites were not taken into account. “To be clear, SpaceX’s satellites were designed and built to be completely destroyed upon re-entry into the atmosphere at the end of their lifespan, which is what happened,” SpaceX’s letter said.
The FAA report focuses on Starlink and ignores other satellite constellations
Another point that has a negative impact on SpaceX: the report focuses on “Starlink” and ignores other satellite constellations such as “Project Kuiper”, OneWeb or systems from China. In fact, the FAA report also notes that SpaceX stated that the Starlink satellites would completely burn up when they fell back to Earth. However, the space company assumes that “each SpaceX satellite is capable of producing three fragments weighing 300 grams.” The FAA chose a conservative approach to the report.
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Following SpaceX’s response to the FAA report, there it is CNN According to discussions between technology experts at Aerospace Corporation and Elon Musk. Data must be “reviewed and updated”. The FAA now also says SpaceX’s letter is under scrutiny. (unpaid bill)
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