NASA Warns That Elon Musk’s Satellite Launch Plan Could Endanger Astronauts

by Victoria Santiago

Elon Musk wants to launch as many SpaceX satellites as possible, but NASA warns that they could cause problems for astronauts. If Musk keeps launching things into space, it will eventually get clogged up. We could start thinking of space like rush hour traffic. If that happens, it could cause problems. Not only for astronauts, but for the International Space Station (ISS) and early asteroid detection as well.

This warning comes after the private space company submitted a proposal to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). SpaceX wants to launch another 30,000 Starlink satellites into orbit. They will form a second-generation “constellation” for Starlink’s internet service. NASA wrote its own letter to the FCC. In the letter, the space agency says that so many objects in space would ruin its ability to direct space traffic. Not only that, but the satellites would cause “possible impacts to NASA’s science and human spaceflight missions.”

To get a better idea of just how many space objects we’re talking about here, NASA estimates that there would “be a Starlink in every single asteroid survey image.” That’s only if SpaceX is allowed to go forward with their plan, of course.

For comparison, SpaceX currently has around 1,500-2,000 satellites in space right now. 30,000 is a massive amount, but that’s only the beginning of the space company’s plans. Eventually, SpaceX wants their Starlink constellation to be “massive,” according to the New York Post.

Elon Musk Is Frustrated By Claims He Has Too Many Satellites in Space

This isn’t the first time that space agencies have complained about Elon Musk’s plans for space. It’s happened multiple times before, actually. As of right now, he has yet to comment on NASA’s warning. However, he’s been vocal about these claims in the past. For example, China filed a complaint about SpaceX at the end of last year. Their letter, which was sent to the United Nations, said that their astronauts had to take evasive action due to a close call with a SpaceX satellite in orbit.

Plus, the director-general of the European Space Agency, Josef Aschbacher, has questioned the private space company’s need for all of these satellites. According to him, Elon Musk owns “half of the active satellites in the world.”

By that point, Elon Musk had listened to more than enough complaints about SpaceX. “Space is just extremely enormous, and satellites are very tiny,” he said in an interview. “We’ve not blocked anyone from doing anything, nor do we expect to.”

Even if it was possible that spacecraft would run into each other, Musk says that it wouldn’t happen. He says that everything in space should be able to be controlled. Thus, they can simply be steered away from each other. However, NASA is not a fan of this passive solution.