The NASA nice to collaborate with SpaceX for the implementation of its lunar missions Artemisthe American space agency keeps its freedom of speech with regard to the projects ofElon Musk. As proof, in a letter addressed directly to the FCC, NASA copiously seasons the armada of Internet satellites of the company Starlink. The space agency believes that multiplying the number of satellites in low orbit too quickly could lead to a “sharp increase in the frequency of conjunctions and the risk of collisions”, and doubts Starlink’s claim that the situation is completely under control: “With the proliferation of constellations, with thousands or even tens of thousands of vehicles in orbit, it is not reasonable to say that propulsion systems, tracking radars or software are 100% reliable, or that manual correction operations present no risk of human error” thus notes the American agency.
Launch of a Falcon rocket carrying dozens of Starlink satellites on board – March 2021
The salvo of criticism does not stop there. The missive sent to the FCC also points to the inconvenience that the Starlink armada can cause on the observation systems in orbit or on the ground, mainly because of the reflection of the sun’s rays on the satellites. Worse still, Starlink could disrupt asteroid observation and monitoring: “there will be a Starlink satellite in every image taken by the Planetary Asteroid Impact Defense System, diminishing the effectiveness of this monitoring by rendering unusable a part of the images” NASA is alarmed. Starlink has yet to respond to what looks like a full raid. Elon Musk’s firm plans to place up to 30,000 satellites in low orbit by 2026.