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A SpaceX Starlink Satellite Has Nearly Crashed Into A European Satellite

by : Matt Weston on : 03 Sep 2019 15:33
A SpaceX Starlink Satellite Has Nearly Crashed Into A European SatelliteA SpaceX Starlink Satellite Has Nearly Crashed Into A European SatelliteESA

In an incident which nearly sent flying debris across outer space, a satellite in the SpaceX Starlink constellation has nearly crashed into a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite.

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The ESA had to perform a ‘collision avoidance manoeuvre’ to protect one of its satellites. Experts that work for the agency calculated there was a high risk that there could be an actual collision between these two active satellites.

In order to protect the Aeolus satellite, the thrusters on it were fired to increase its altitude. This meant the satellite ended up passing over the SpaceX satellite.

With only 60 SpaceX satellites currently floating around in space, it is quite easy to manually manoeuvre other satellites away from potential threats.

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But as Elon Musk has bold plans to send thousands of Starlink satellites into space for global broadband internet access, it’s going to become much harder to keep track of everything that’s floating around across space.

About 11,000 orbiting satellites will be involved overall and whether you’re in an African village or a research station in Antarctica, you’ll be able to access terrestrial-quality broadband internet.

SpaceX documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal show their goal is to have over 40 million customers subscribed to their service by 2025, which is reported to amount to nearly $30 billion in revenue.

A SpaceX Starlink Satellite Has Nearly Crashed Into A European SatelliteA SpaceX Starlink Satellite Has Nearly Crashed Into A European SatelliteSpaceX

This was the first time that the ESA has had to move a satellite to avoid a collision with a constellation. Traffic is sure to get busier in space over the next 10 years, with other satellite constellations set to follow in the footsteps of SpaceX.

The agency admitted that it’s going to become incredibly difficult to move the satellites individually in a series of tweets.

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Matt Weston

Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he's a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.

Topics: Technology, crash, Elon Musk, Space, SpaceX

Credits

ESA Operations/Twitter and 1 other
  1. ESA Operations/Twitter

    @esaoperations

  2. The Wall Street Journal

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