Don’t Believe Elon Musk’s False Satellite Promises

- NATIONAL INTEREST - William Fisher - COMENTÁRIO CÉSAR TONHEIRO - JUN 2, 2022 -


Low-Earth Orbit Satellites (LEOs), Geostationary Satellites (GEOs) ... Dos quatro principais players de LEOs, o mais ambicioso é a Starlink. A Starlink tem planos para dezenas de milhares de outros satélites – até 42.000 no total. Além de muito lixo espacial errante, existem mais de 7.000 satélites, ativos e inativos, atualmente em órbita ao redor da Terra. E até 100.000 novos satélites podem estar operacionais até 2030. Aproximadamente metade de todos os satélites no espaço não estão mais em serviço. Mas no campo das externalidades de negócios orbitais, os próprios poluidores atualmente não têm incentivo para levar seu lixo para fora. Em vez disso, a superlotação tornou-se uma oportunidade de negócio secundária: a corrida começou agora para gerenciar a confusão cada vez maior do tráfego de satélites por meio de serviços de prevenção de colisões e eliminação de detritos .


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As he opportunistically elbows out competitors, Musk’s satellite launch and operating business has been systematically crowding out the Earth’s orbit.


The war in Ukraine has been good for Elon Musk, allowing him to grab headlines and commercial opportunities. Online followers delighted in his waggish posts (including a mano-a-mano challenge to Vladimir Putin) even as Musk earnestly advanced his business agenda. Amid the torrent of Elon-tinged ink spilled since the Russian invasion—his $44 billion pending Twitter acquisition, his ongoing battle with the Security Exchange Commission, a new service order by NASA, and more successful satellite launches—the following merit a shout-out:


First, Russia suspended joint space missions with the United States—creating momentum for Musk’s own Lunar and Mars initiatives. Second, the Russian Space Corporation (a Musk competitor for satellite launches) was sidelined by sanctions, allowing him to pick up new customers. Third, Musk’s space-based broadband operation was lauded for gallantly donating satellite receivers to Ukraine. Fourth, unmentioned was the vexing fact that U.S. taxpayers subsidized the “gift” to the tune of $3 million dollars, shipping included.


Such commercial and public relations mastery has allowed Musk to restore space travel to the public imagination. But the business bravura obscures the dark side of Musk’s space-based entrepreneurialism. As he opportunistically elbows out competitors, Musk’s satellite launch and operating business has been systematically crowding out the Earth’s orbit.


It has become commonplace to observe that space is dangerously congested, and that Musk’s SpaceX is the principal culprit—as even his main customer NASA now acknowledges. In addition to plenty of errant space junk, there are more than 7,000 satellites, both active and inactive, currently in orbit around the earth. And as many as 100,000 new satellites could be operational by 2030—more than ten times the number that have been launched since Sputnik first entered orbit in 1957. The overwhelming number of these will be low-earth orbit satellites (LEOs)—networks of hundreds, or thousands, of small, rapidly moving spacecraft that cost less to manufacture and launch than traditional high-orbit geostationary satellites (GEOs). LEOs’ closer proximity to the Earth also has the advantage of providing more bandwidth and reducing latency. One source expects 170 different LEO constellations to be operated by as many private companies by the end of the decade.


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https://nationalinterest.org/feature/don%E2%80%99t-believe-elon-musk%E2%80%99s-false-satellite-promises-202738


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