Thursday, May 27, 2021

Competitor Fears Musk's SpaceX Could 'Monopolise' Space

Competitor fears Musk's SpaceX could 'monopolise' space 

The launching of thousands of satellites into low Earth orbit by tech billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX threatens the "de-facto monopolisation" of space, the head of competitor Arianespace Stephane Israel has warned. Elon Musk's Starlink constellation project recently received authorisation from US regulator the Federal Communications Commission to provide broadband from space and place thousands of satellites lower than previously proposed, angering competitors including Amazon. SpaceX, which asked the FCC for permission which will apply to some 2,800 satellites, plans ultimately to blanket poorly connected and isolated areas of the globe with internet connectivity. But rivals claim the lower altitude could increase risk of space collisions and heightened radio interference. "We want space to remain accessible for human activities... but we refuse a Wild West space. It really is our responsibility to ensure that low orbit (less than 1,000 kilometres or 625 miles) above the Earth is sustainable long-term," Israel told a UN-sponsored conference in Geneva on sustainable space development goals. Israel noted that of more than 9,000 satellites sent into orbit since 1957, "SpaceX has already deployed 1,677 satellites for Starlink, which means that today, of all satellites in operation, 35 percent belong to one man -- Elon Musk. "And if you include satellites of more than 50 kilogrammes, that's more than 50 percent." He added that recent years had seen several collisions, at least two of them involving Starlink satellites, and warned that "very quickly, we could find ourselves in a catastrophic scenario that would render this orbit impractical." Israel said there was also "a risk of de-facto monopolisation" for Starlink as one of the first firms to set up such a satellite network. Source

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