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The Truth About the Thousands of Satellites Elon Musk is Launching Into Orbit
According to the U.N., almost half of the world's population does not have internet access, which is a staggering statistic in 2022. Elon Musk is out to change that with his Starlink satellites; his objective is to bypass traditional internet infrastructure like fiber optic cables, and instead, rely on satellites to send and receive signals from space.
Starlink, a division of SpaceX, has already launched more than 2,900 satellites, and received permission from the FCC to deploy more than 40,000 more over the next decade. Each time Starlink launches satellites, collisions with other space objects become more likely. To lessen this prospect, Starlink satellites are designed with autonomous collision avoidance systems.
While they can anticipate collisions, Starlink satellites can’t avoid being destroyed in geomagnetic storms. SpaceX assures the public that debris is not a problem, but it remains a concern because of the satellites’ proximity to Earth. Starlink satellites are positioned in low earth orbit to reduce latency — between 311 and 1,243 miles above the ground.
Astronomers complained that Starlink satellites could interfere with telescope feedback because their surfaces were made of highly reflective material; Starlink responded by designing new satellites with non-reflective coating and visors so they don't interfere with astronomy telescopes. SpaceX is yet to figure out a solution for radio signal interference.