The launch of thousands of satellites into the Earth’s low orbit by Elon Musk’s SpaceX threatens the “de-facto monopolisation” of space, “competition chief Arianespace Stephane Israel has warned.
Elon Musk’s Starlink constellation project recently received approval from the US Federal Communications Commission’s regulator to provide broadband from space and put thousands of satellites lower than previously proposed, outraged rivals including Amazon.
SpaceX, which has requested permission from the FCC to operate on some 2,800 satellites, plans to store clothing that is not well-connected to remote parts of the world via an Internet connection.
Opponents, however, say that low altitude could increase the risk of collision and radio interference.
“We want the area to remain accessible to the public … but we are rejecting the Wild West area. It is our responsibility to ensure that the low-lying path (less than 1,000 km or 625 miles) above the Earth lasts longer,” Israel told a conference sponsored by UN in Geneva on development goals
Israel noted that in addition to the more than 9,000 satellites sent to orbit since 1957, “SpaceX has already used 1,677 Starlink satellites, which means that today, of all active satellites, 35 percent are one-person – Elon Musk.
“And if you put satellites over 50 pounds, that’s over 50 percent.”
He added that in recent years there had been a number of collisions, at least two involving Starlink satellites, and warned that “as soon as possible, we could find ourselves in a catastrophic situation that could destabilize the route.”
Israel said there was also a “risk of de-facto monopolisation” by Starlink as one of the first firms to establish such a satellite network.
He suggested that “rather it is our competitor in the bank” by defending the light of the FCC.
The FCC ruled in April that deploying less than 540 to 570 kilometers at the proposed start “will improve the knowledge of users of the SpaceX service, including in the most neglected areas”.
It will also enable satellites to be quickly removed from orbit which will have “beneficial effects” in terms of reducing atmospheric debris, the official found.
In total, SpaceX has requested FCC authorization for up to 42,000 satellites.
That has put pressure on Arianespace, a joint venture between Airbus and France’s international Safran, to increase its competitiveness – the global market with Fortune Business Insights estimated at about $ 13 billion in 2019, to $ 26 billion 2027.
The French UN Ambassador to Geneva and conference organizer Francois Rivasseau emphasized that space has a “significant” role to play in helping sustainable development.
But he also warned that the potential dangers could suddenly shift from edge concern to global problems – pointing to the coronavirus epidemic as an example.