IEEE: Space junk to pose major risk to LEO satellite business in 2024 | Space

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Kostek, who serves as the president of the IEEE’s Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society, heeds his warning as the number of satellites in orbit is set to increase exponentially due to Starlink, Amazon and others deploying thousands of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites to provide connectivity solutions such as broadband, SMS and voice calls from space.

Many of these satellites have a short lifespan, (sometimes only five years) and making sure a robust plan is in place to remove them or extend their lifespan is essential, Kostek told Capacity.

Dish Networks received the $150,000 fine for its geostationary orbit (GEO) EchoStar-7 satellite. It was first launched in 2002 and following the end of its life was supposed to be moved a further 186 miles from the Earth’s surface. However, following a fuel loss it was only moved less than half of this distance.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said the out of use satellite posed a threat to active satellites.

“As satellite operations become more prevalent and the space economy accelerates, we must be certain that operators comply with their commitments,” FCC enforcement bureau chief Loyaan Egal said.

“This is a breakthrough settlement, making very clear the FCC has strong enforcement authority and capability to enforce its vitally important space debris rules.”

Kostek believes this serves as a landmark moment in the regulation of space, noting that shortly after the fine was issued, the Biden administration proposed new powers for the Department of Commerce to regulate unmanned space vehicles.

Space Junk could be anything from entire satellites that are out of commission, or small parts of them such as nuts and bolts that have broken off. Due to the high speeds they travel at, any collision could cause significant damage to a working satellite, and the more junk in space the higher the risk becomes.

NASA administrator, Senator Bill Nelson, said in an interview with the…

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