There looms a new pattern of satellites in space by numerous space firms. For instance, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is launching satellites in the outer expanse, the latest being 60 by a single rocket. This move aims to generate a satellite network known as Starlink.
Elon Musk plans to achieve his dream of a multi-planetary system. If his plans go through, by the end of 2025, there are going to be over 12000 of his satellites around the earth. He says that the achievement of this dream results in the provision of high-speed internet for people. His target is the US citizens living in remote areas or islands. He hopes that this move will attract more funds from the government.
Although Elon Musk’s plan has potential benefits, it comes with disastrous problems. One of such is light pollution. The trails left by Starlink satellites are going to impede the clarity of astronomical images. Elon’s dismissal of this claim with a test is a failure, especially after the trial of spacecraft 1130, “DarkSat.”
It is alarming various satellite operators, especially with the numerous satellites in space. They think there is a likelihood of collision if some satellites do not change their path. Such clashes will make the near-space environment inoperable. Elon advises firms to equip their satellites with thrusters. This move will ensure they fall of space at the redundancy of their lifespan.
The failure of various satellites results in additional debris in space. Elon’s failure of six Starlink satellites is an example of such a failure. If more satellites fail, then space is going to be full of debris in addition to that which is under scrutiny.
The altitude for the proper installation of satellites is 600 to 1100km. Elon Musk’s initial plan has this concern under consideration. If the height is lower than 600km, there will be an atmospheric drag on the satellite leading to its failure. However, in April, Elon’s modification of the plan renders the satellites a risk. He requests satellite installation below 600km. This move results in congestion in the near-space environment.
In addition to the standard space launch challenges, the Starlink satellites require an excess of materials and energy. There is also a high risk when these satellites are in a low earth orbit. However, SpaceX is pushing through, saying that the purpose is to enhance telecommunication. They say the move is going to cater to over one million starters in the internet community.
Furthermore, there is stiff competition in the industry. The competitors include other telecom firms like OneWeb. Investors are also keen on the massive production of the antenna to tap into the technology. Such competition is unhealthy for the environment. Many small-satellite companies are facing extinction even though they may have the best technology.
Elon says that with Starlink, people are going to enjoy high-speed internet. This idea indicates that digital activities are going to flood the earth. The result is the high consumption of electricity, which harms the environment.
The Federal Communications Commission is lenient on Musk’s plan. They are likely to authorize additional satellites with few regulations. This move is going to cause crowding in space and near-space environment.
The American authority is turning a blind eye on the US regulations of telecoms. Space and the low earth orbit region is going to be full of satellites. A monopoly is likely to rise in the outer expanse and suppress the growth of small satellite companies.
Finally, a monopoly in space is more troublesome for the earth. The control of the debris in case of failure of a satellite is going to be a challenge.