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Current Affairs

NASA’s objection to constellation project

Date: 10 November 2020 Tags: Space

Issue

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has expressed concerns about an upcoming mega constellation of broadband satellites that will pose a substantial risk of collision.

 

Background

 A Texas-based company AST & Science plans to put up a network of up to 243 satellites which will nearly be 720 km above from Earth’s space.

 

Details

  • The constellation project is called SpaceMobile that aims to provide 4G services and potentially 5G services in the future.

  • The satellites will be equipped with large antennas that will go up to 900 square metres. NASA fears that the big cross-sections will increase the probability of conjunctions eventually leading to close flybys and eventually collisions.

  • The AST & Science’s satellites also pose threat to “A-Train’ which is a group of 10 Earth-observation missions. They are operated by NASA and other international partners that orbit around the Earth at a similar path. 

 

Satellite internet

Satellite Internet access is Internet access provided through communication satellites. Modern consumer grade satellite Internet service is typically provided to individual users through geostationary satellites that can offer relatively high data speeds.

 

Starlink project

  • Starlink is a satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX providing satellite Internet access.

  • The constellation will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), working in combination with ground transceivers.

  • The Starlink satellites carry Hall thrusters, which use electricity and krypton gas to generate an impulse, to manoeuvre in orbit, maintain altitude and guide the spacecraft back into the atmosphere at the end of their mission.