SpaceX Starlink satellites target of requested environmental review

Competitor Viasat argues mega-constellation poses hazards in space and on Earth

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Launching about twice per month, the SpaceX Starlink Internet constellation is at 900 satellites right now with several thousands more planned for future launches.

From the jump, astronomers raised concerns about what stargazers call “light pollution.”

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Critics also cite space debris.

“Those mega constellations could collide with other satellites in low-Earth orbit, like the International Space Station,” Dr. Ken Kremer of said.

So now Viasat, another Internet provider, is requesting the Federal Communications Commission do an environmental review of Starlink arguing SpaceX is posing hazards in space and on Earth.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk responded by tweeting, “Starlink ‘poses a hazard’ to Viasat’s profits, more like it.”

Another of Viasat’s arguments is that Starlink launches, and if the satellites de-orbit and re-enter the atmosphere, release harmful chemicals.

It’s not the first attempt calling for a federal review of large satellite systems.

Last spring, two U.S. senators addressed the light pollution.

Astronomers say SpaceX has made improvements there.

“So I think what you need is a balanced approach,” Kremer said. “SpaceX needs to act responsibly and I think they have, but they also have to prove that they can operate this constellation safely.”

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