In 2019, Space X has obtained the green light from the US government for the launch of nearly 42 000 satellites as part of the implementation of the Starlink network, with a goal, affordable high-speed internet access. And so far, about 800 satellites have already been put into orbit by the firm.
According to Jonathan McDowell, astronome au Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 3 % of these satellites would not work, or would simply be desorbed.
With this failure rate, even if this is not obvious given the number of stellites launched so far, in the long term, this will surely have an impact on the functioning of the constellation of SpaceX. Without forgetting the concerns that this will pose in the current context of the space debris crisis.
Indeed, although all the satellites can be maneuvered using ionic readers, once their propulsion systems are out of order, they can move around uncontrollably and represent a danger to all other satellites.
Despite the fact that the European Space Agency has already notified Space X, a collision of a Starlink satellite with one of its probes nearly occurred in September 2019. And currently, these 3 % Starlink constellation failing satellites add another layer to space debris crisis.
As a reminder, Space X has always minimized the risk by stating that if ever the propulsion systems of its satellites do not work, these will just desorbit or burn in the atmosphere. Except that this process can take up to five years.
Selon And Ceperley, CEO of satellite tracking company LeoLabs, two satellites colliding, it’s bad for the ecosystem of satellites and objects above our heads. So, more than 500 collisions of this type recorded have resulted in more than 130 million pieces of debris moving in orbit at a speed of about 10 times that of a bullet.
In the worst case, these faulty satellites and space debris rush towards sensitive facilities like the International Space Station and its astronauts, no one there to maneuver them.
Kessler syndrome is the scenario that researchers fear most, an increase in the number of space debris could eventually create an uncontrollable chain of collisions. The Earth will then be surrounded by a field of debris in low orbit, practically impassable which according to Donald J. Kessler will only fade after hundreds if not thousands of years.
This will have a long term effect and a huge impact on the safety of all spaceflight..
SpaceX, Microsoft Corporation, Elon Musk, Cloud computing
World news – THAT – 3% SpaceX's Starlink Network Satellites Apparently Won't Work