SpaceX satellites have to drift every 10 minutes

Space is unimaginably vast, so you’d think there would be more than enough space for everything you want to put into orbit. SpaceX and Starlink engineers will probably tell you that it’s not quite that simple. that FCC report The Elon Musk-led satellite internet service provider noted on June 30 that more than 4,000 Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit completed more than 25,000 collision avoidance maneuvers between December 1, 2022, and May 31, 2023. Gizmodo explains what triggered . Such a move that SpaceX has indicated that it will move its Starlink satellites if the chance of hitting another satellite or space debris exceeds 1 in 100,000.

like Space.com According to reports, the figures in the FCC report run out to be an average of 137 course modifications per day, or one about every 10 minutes. The problem will not improve over time. “We’re seeing an exponential growth in these manoeuvres,” says space science professor Hugh Lewis. “Every six months, the number of maneuvers doubles,” and “If you predict that, you’ll have 50,000 over the next six-month period, then 100,000 over the next, then 200,000, and so on.”

This means that Starlink satellites will need to be increasingly smarter, with Lewis predicting that within five years, “Starlink satellites will have to maneuver nearly a million times in half a year to reduce the risk of orbital collisions.” Add to that SpaceX’s goal of launching a total of 42,000 satellites, per Gizmodo, and suddenly near-Earth orbit is a very busy place. (Starlink’s internet satellites aren’t the only ones facing this congestion.)

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