By November 26, 2019 Read More →

ESA Director warns on the dangers of space debris

ESA Director General, Jan Wörner spoke about the growing issues around Space debris at the Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Germany. He put the case forward that too little was being done by satellite operators and insisted: “We don’t have to wait all the time for regulations.”

He highlighted the potential damage that megaconstellations could cause, and mentioned that SpaceX Starlink intends to launch up over 40,000 satellites in crowded LEO Space. He said, even with a functional success rate as high as 97% for megaconstellations, this could result in thousands of dysfunctional satellites.

SpaceX is now said to have automated what used to be a very manual process in collision avoidance manoeuvres with Starlink, and since carried out 21 of them. This has relied heavily on the data available through the US Air Force which is limited by its radar coverage, object size detection and timeliness of measurements.

More needs to be done within the industry to ensure safe operation of all satellites in LEO and support the overall Space infrastructure before it becomes too late.

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