SpaceX plans a Starlink flagship program to launch 12,000 satellites into space. The program creates grave concerns in space research.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX recently launched a satellite-train – Starlink – into space. Starlink is a group of telecommunication satellites that aim to eventually create ultra-fast internet service all around the world. SpaceX plans to launch a fleet of 12,000 satellites under the Starlink flagship.
Recently, SpaceX launched the first 60 satellites under the Starlink flagship. The launch turned out to be immensely successful as all the satellites were launched without any yanks.
However, the astronomers are excessively concerned due to this project. They feel that such a high number of objects orbiting the planet would create problems for ground-based telescopes.
“Existing satellites already create very tricky business for ground-based telescopes”, said Swinburne University astronomer Alan Duffy.
According to the United Nation’s data from the Office for Outer Space Affairs, currently, there are 5,162 objects orbiting Earth. However, only 2000 of them are operational.
Ergo, in such a scenario, if SpaceX deploys 12,000 more satellites, the results would be unprecedented. Our environment is already constantly filled with radio waves – WiFi, phone towers, and wireless networks, all of which emit high radio noise.
However, satellites are much worse for radio telescopes than anything ground-based.
According to Duffy, a full constellation of Starlink satellites will render Earth-based microwave-radio telescopes unable to scan the heavens for faint radio objects.
Harvey Liszt, US National Radio Astronomy Observatory astronomer, also reached out to the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), last year, expressing concerns about the project.
SpaceX does have a space debris mitigation plan, however, if it fails then the satellite will take 5 years more than actually planned to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. According to several astronomers, this period is dangerously long enough for space collisions to occur.
Moreover, one space collision can trigger more collisions thus creating a cascading effect known as Kessler Syndrome.