Earth’s orbit is hot real estate for satellites, but things could very easily get messy and go wrong up there. Thousands of contraptions hurtling around our planet, it’s a wonder they don’t whack into each other.
Especially with how many extras Space X wants to launch. Which is why it makes sense that they're signing an agreement with NASA to share information.
Well that's partially a lie. It's not a wonder they don't whack into each other. It’s all actually very carefully planned out. You can put that existential nightmare to bed.
Usually, when a satellite is being launched NASA has a standard Conjunction Assessment process. This is still being refined but it’s essentially a risk assessment for satellites. It involves calculations and also actionable solutions to potential future satellite smashes.
Space X is seriously ramping up their satellite output, especially with the Starlink satellite internet solution which has even been announced for Australia, with pricing. There’s already thousands, but this number will likely turn to tens of thousands sooner rather than later.
Due to this influx of high speed orbiting hunks of metal, the two organisations have signed an agreement in which they will keep each other informed of satellite activity. It also outlines what will happen if a collision could occur, so both parties don’t wind up making alterations that counter each other out.
Satellites in general are just an awkward area. More and more companies are launching their own as the world relies more heavily on digital communications. Space may be infinite, but what works for us in orbit isn’t. We’re probably going to need to find a better solution than a bazillion individual floating balls of space junk complete with corporate stickers littering our skies.
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