In an electronic filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), SpaceX has demonstrated a higher than necessary safety for their Starlink constellation satellites in terms of collision risk with other objects in orbit in the scenario that a Starlink satellite becomes uncontrollable after launch.
The filing, in response to FCC questions, reveals SpaceX’s upcoming space-based internet project carries a collision risk 2.1 times less likely than the accepted NASA standard.
The filing occurred on 13 March 2019 in response to a series of FCC follow-up questions from previous approvals and relates to SpaceX’s upcoming deployment of the first batch of Starlink satellites into an initial operational orbit of 550 km.
The first Starlinks are expected to launch No Earlier Than (NET) May from Florida aboard one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets.
Initially, the Starlink constellation was to comprise 12,000 satellites in two operational rings. However, SpaceX now plans three operational rings located at altitudes of 350 km, 550 km, and 1,200 km.
The first two demo Starlink satellites, Tintin A and Tintin B, were launched on a Falcon 9 in February 2018 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, as a ride-along payload to the Paz satellite.
The 550 km ...