In a world where the sky is increasingly cluttered with satellites, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently raised alarms about the potential dangers posed by falling debris from SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. The FAA’s report, which has stirred a significant amount of controversy, suggests that these low-Earth orbit objects could, by 2035, fall and cause injury or even fatalities. Should Starlink RV aka Roam users be concerned that the service could be impacted?
Could Starlink satellites kill people?
In an article titled “FAA Says Starlink Satellites Could Kill People, SpaceX Shoots Back”, Jalopnik.com examines the FAA’s concerns in detail. According to the FAA, Starlink represents more than 85% of the expected risk to people on the ground and aviation from falling debris. The administration is particularly concerned about the satellites de-orbiting and falling to Earth, potentially causing catastrophic damage. (It is noteworthy that to date, despite more than two hundred Starlink satellites de-orbiting and reentering the atmosphere, not a single person, animal, or insect [that we know of] has been harmed.)
However, Starlink parent SpaceX has vehemently disputed these claims. In a rebuttal highlighted in the Arstechnica.com article titled “SpaceX Says FAA is wrong about Starlink satellite debris falling to Earth,” SpaceX asserts that the FAA’s claims are unfounded and that their satellites are designed to fully burn up in the atmosphere upon re-entry, negating any risk of harm.
The debate between the FAA and SpaceX underscores the broader issue of space debris and the potential hazards associated with the increasing number of objects in Earth’s orbit. It also seems to underscore the belief that the FAA is trying to play out of its league with regard to space travel.
For RVers, this controversy is of particular interest
The promise of Starlink’s satellite internet service offers the potential for unprecedented connectivity on the road. The ability to access reliable internet from virtually anywhere is a game-changer for both recreational and full-time RVers. Is there a real risk to the public, or to the continuing viability of the satellite broadband system?
Weighing the enormous benefits of Starlink and its nascent competitors like Amazon Kuiper with the need to ensure public safety will be a challenge in this new era of space exploration and satellite technology.
In the coming months, as the FAA and SpaceX continue to lock horns over this issue, RVers and the broader public should watch closely. We’re still in uncharted territory with commercial space operations. The need for rigorous safety protocols, transparent communication, and international cooperation has never been greater.
The Starlink project has already changed internet connectivity for RVers and remote communities. The safety concerns raised by the FAA’s report should be examined along with the other complex challenges associated with the proliferation of low-Earth orbit satellites. Going forward, all stakeholders need to be able to foster a balanced approach that prioritizes both innovation and safety. To do that, we need reliable, empirical information, not theories or suppositions based on preconceived ideas or sensational unscientific predictions.
Additional recent Starlink news:
- Amazon Kuiper first launch—Real competition for Starlink?
- Full U.S. coverage now; expanded cell phone service soon