SpaceX to put thousands of broadband satellites in LEO

SpaceX has a viable debris mitigation plan.

By Vishal Kawadkar

Elon Musk has been vocal about his plans including space travel, undergraound tunnel, and what not. However, one of the most interesting plans involves putting thousands of satellites in the low Earth orbit (LEO) to offer fast broadband speeds to the world.

SpaceX to put thousands of broadband satellites in LEO


However, this plan faced a lot of sceptism as it would leave a lot of debris in the LEO. In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was asked to find a solution for this debris along with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and NASA.

But, now SpaceX has confirmed that it will place the satllite on a lower orbit of around 550km. The private space company also promised that it will also de-orbit satellites within 5-7 years of their EoL date. While the company already has been approved to place 4,425 satellites in an orbit around 1,200km, but that approval will only matter if SpaceX comes up with a viable debris mitigation plan.

SpaceX has confirmed that 1,584 of those satellites will be placed into orbit at 550 km, which means they could re-enter the Earth's atmosphere in contrast to the hundreds of years it would take them if placed at 1,200 km.

If SpaceX really pulls this off, we might see the broadband latency to fall down to 15 ms or less. While this is good, it would require more satellites for the same area.

Speaking of space debris, India recently successfully tested its A-SAT missile and became the fourth nation to do so. However, the US criticized India for its action as the experiment caused space debris which could might collide with the International Space Station (ISS).

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