For the first time, NASA is commenting on a private company’s application to launch a mega-constellation of satellites. And his message is clear: it could be disastrous. Musk is in the same situation.
AST & Science (AST) wants to launch 240 large satellites that will broadcast 4G service and, if all goes according to plan, eventually do the same with a 5G network, reports Ars Technica.
Because the satellites will be so large, NASA said in a statement that it would cause thousands of potential collisions each year – although AST says it has committed to working with NASA to resolve the issue.
Other mega-constellations, such as Starlink, also pose collision risks, but the massive size of these telecommunications satellites and AST’s lack of experience in building anything large has alerted NASA.
NASA has suggested that up to 10% of satellites could fail, creating an “unacceptably high” risk of “catastrophic collision”
To transmit 4G and, finally, 5G signals, the satellites will be equipped with massive antennas of up to 900 square meters. Given the planned proximity to other satellites, NASA says it is a disaster waiting to happen.
“For the full constellation of 243 satellites, we can expect 1,500 attenuation actions per year and maybe 15,000 planning activities,” the NASA statement said. “This would be equivalent to four maneuvers and 40 active planning activities in a given day.”
Musk’s global speed internet
SpaceX’s Starlink internet speed consistently exceeds 150 Mbps – now Elon Musk says the biggest challenge is reducing the initial $ 600 cost to users.
Users in the public beta of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service have consistently reported speeds in excess of 150 megabits per second, faster than SpaceX had promised – and now the biggest technical challenge is to get the Starlink kit to be cheaper, said CEO Elon Musk.
Almost all users who reported speeds in November on a list compiled by the Starlink community said they have download speeds of more than 150 Mbps. The fastest download speed was 205.82 Mbps, recorded in Bellevue, Washington.
To date, SpaceX has launched nearly 900 Starlink satellites – a fraction of the total needed for global coverage, but enough to start providing services in some areas.
The company has already begun collaborating with several organizations in rural areas that Starlink satellites currently cover, such as Washington.
“Under the Better Than Nothing Beta testing program, the initial service is intended for the US and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near-global coverage of the populated world by 2021,” according to the Starlink mobile app description.