The satellite internet project of Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, has its main customer, NASA concerned about the risks of collision of thousands of satellites involved in the connectivity project.
SpaceX has begun launching thousands of low-altitude satellites to power Starlink, the aerospace company’s high-speed internet service. It applied in January to the Federal Communications Commission for permission to put up to 30,000 satellites into orbit over the next few years.
NASA warned the FCC that 30,000 new satellites deployed in space would increase the number of objects that have to be tracked, by a factor of more than five in certain lower orbits.
These satellites represent the bulk of the fleet of more than 42,000 objects that SpaceX plans to put into orbit to power the Starlink service.
According to the United Nations, about 48% of the world’s population still lacks internet access, meaning there is still a potential market of more than a trillion dollars a year to be served.
SpaceX is looking to put 10,000 more satellites into orbit in short term, and has the goal of reaching 42,000 satellites in orbit, four times the number of satellites orbiting the earth today. Pilots for connectivity have already begun in some rural areas of the United States.
During the first quarter of 2021 Starlink put more satellites into orbit than any other company, and currently has about 1,500 in orbit doing that job.
“An increase of this magnitude into these confined altitude bands inherently brings additional risk of debris generating collision events,” NASA warned in the letter sent to the FCC.
NASA is SpaceX’s main customer, almost all the Space Agency’s astronaut transports to the International Space Station are made by Elon Musk’s company, thus generating a co-dependent relationship between the two institutions.
SpaceX‘s valuation exceeded $76 billion in 2021. Elon Musk‘s aerospace company in just under a year had a 60% valuation over the previous one, which gave it a value of $46 billion. SpaceX‘s services are undoubtedly becoming more attractive to investors.
Recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed that SpaceX by December 2021 raised another $337 million in funding from investors.
Not only is SpaceX launching more satellites into the market, China recently announced to the International Communications Union — a UN agency — plans to launch more than 7,800 satellites into orbit. Other companies such as Boening and Amazon have also expressed interest in launching satellites of their own in the future.