Caymans Post

A world within. A state apart.
Saturday, Jan 22, 2022

Taking up too much space? Elon Musk hits back at Starlink criticism

Taking up too much space? Elon Musk hits back at Starlink criticism

Musk made the headlines this week after China complained that its space station was forced to avoid collisions with Starlink satellites.

Elon Musk has rejected criticisms that his company’s Starlink internet project is taking up too much room in space, following criticism this week his satellites were involved in near-misses.

“Space is just extremely enormous, and satellites are very tiny,” Musk told the Financial Times, arguing that “tens of billions” of spacecraft could orbit close to Earth.

Musk’s comments follow claims by Josef Aschbacher, the head of the European Space Agency (ESA), that the SpaceX chief was "making the rules" for the emerging commercial space industry.

In comments to the FT, Aschbacher warned that Musk’s plans to launch thousands of communication satellites would reduce the number of radio frequencies and orbital slots available for others.

SpaceX, a private company, has deployed nearly 1,900 satellites to serve its Starlink broadband network and is planning more.

Musk argued his company was not obstructing competition.

“This is not some situation where we’re effectively blocking others in any way. We’ve not blocked anyone from doing anything, nor do we expect to,” he told the FT.

"A couple of thousand satellites is nothing. It's like, hey, here's a couple of thousand of cars on Earth, it's nothing," he added.

Avoiding collisions with Musk’s satellites


Musk also made the headlines this week after China complained that its space station was forced to avoid collisions with Starlink satellites.

"For safety reasons, the China Space Station implemented preventive collision avoidance control," China said in a document published on the website of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

The Chinese foreign ministry also said that the United States ignored obligations under outer space treaties, exposing astronauts to danger.

Traditionally, satellites have been used for communications and TV services but in recent years, tech companies have needed to launch their own satellites to create space internet networks to send data directly to people’s devices.

Traditionally, satellites have been used for communications and TV services but in recent years, tech companies have needed to launch their own satellites to create space internet networks to send data directly to people’s devices.

Space debris, or “space junk”, largely discarded material from launch vehicles, has become a growing concern.

In November, NASA was forced to call off a spacewalk, citing risks posed by space debris. It was unclear where the debris came from but Musk tweeted in response that some Starlink satellite orbits had been adjusted to reduce the possibility of collisions.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Caymans Post
×