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IPFS News Link • Communications

SpaceX Will Voluntarily Bring Down Potentially Problematic Starlink Broadband Satellites

•, By B.N. Frank

The launching of space vehicles in itself is also NOT environmentally friendly.  Adding insult to injury, high-speed broadband internet connections can be achieved via safer and more secure methods than wireless-radiation emitting satellites!  Unfortunately pending U.S. bills would allow the launching of hundreds of thousands more satellites with NO environmental review.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made it easier for satellites to be launched more quickly as well!  Argh!

In regard to SpaceX Starlink broadband satellites in particular, there seems to be no end to problems associated with them (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).  For those keeping track, here ya go.

From Ars Technica:

Clearing one's orbit —
SpaceX takes a proactive step toward responsible behavior in orbit
"We commend this commitment as a first step."

Eric Berger

SpaceX announced this week that it will voluntarily bring down about 100 of its first-generation Starlink satellites, which provide broadband Internet from low-Earth orbit, as part of its commitment to "space sustainability."

The satellites are presently operational and serving Internet customers. However, in a statement, the company said, "The Starlink team identified a common issue in this small population of satellites that could increase the probability of failure in the future."

This only represents a small fraction of the Starlink megaconstellation, which SpaceX has been launching on Falcon 9 rockets over the last half-decade. To date, SpaceX has put nearly 6,000 satellites into orbit a few hundred kilometers above the planet. This rapid growth in the company's constellation has raised widespread concerns about the cluttering of low-Earth orbit and the potential for a profusion of debris.

Previously, SpaceX has initiated controlled de-orbits of 406 satellites. The vast majority of these have already entered Earth's atmosphere and burnt up. However, 17 have become non-maneuverable. These are in decaying orbits and will eventually burn up in Earth's atmosphere. Until such time they are being tracked to prevent collisions with other satellites.