Collision Avoidance Maneuvers by Starlink Satellites Increasing Exponentially Written 7 July 2023


View of the 60 Starlink satellites from the 24 May 2019 launch. |  Credit: Official SpaceX Photos, CC0/Wikimedia Commons

SPACE reports Starlink satellites had “to swerve more than 25,000 times between Dec. 1, 2022, and May 31, 2023 to avoid potentially dangerous approaches to other spacecraft and orbital debris,” according to filings with the Federal Communications Commission. The frequency of collision avoidance maneuvers by Starlink satellites is “about double the number of avoidance maneuvers reported by SpaceX in the previous six-month period that ran from June to November 2022.” University of Southampton astronautics professor Hugh Lewis says, “Right now, the number of maneuvers is growing exponentially. It’s been doubling every six months, and the problem with exponential trends is that they get to very large numbers very quickly.” Lewis predicts that regulatory intervention will be necessary to control the growth of space debris in low earth orbit, or else “collisions will soon become a regular part of the space business.”
Full Story (SPACE)