Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Starlink News: Satellite radiation, and a ‘threat’ from China

In a study published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, researchers claimed that the constellations of satellites revolving around Earth’s orbit, including the more than 4,000 Starlink satellites, are leaking radiation that has the potential to disturb radio astronomy observations. The research claimed that the electronics onboard SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are leaking low-frequency radio waves, in the range of 110 to 188 MHz, separate from their allocated downlink bands. The frequency range includes a protected band between 150.05 and 153 MHz allocated to radio astronomy.

The unintended radio frequency interference and previous concerns about streaks and light pollution have spurred a call for regulations to protect radio astronomy bands.

SpaceX satellite operations comply with existing regulations. However, there is a lack of specific guidelines for Starlink satellite radiation that could generate challenges.

Implications of Starlink radiation leakage

The implications of this radiation leakage extend beyond radio astronomy. It could potentially interfere with other space activities, including satellite communication and broadband internet services.

SpaceX is actively working to mitigate the issue. The company has reached an agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to protect telescopes from interference caused by the brightness of Starlink satellites and the radio band conflicts. SpaceX’s second-generation satellites incorporate measures like mirror film and black paint to reduce brightness.

China’s strategic maneuver to challenge Starlink

In space, new competition is escalating. The players are SpaceX and China, and the game is the race for satellite internet dominance. China is embarking upon a strategic maneuver to challenge and potentially “defeat” SpaceX’s Starlink, which would have profoundly negative implications for Starlink (RV) Roam subscribers.

Starlink has been the leading innovator in the satellite internet market, with its constellation of 4,700 operational satellites accounting for about 55% of the total. China is way behind but rapidly working to catch up to—and surpass—Starlink. The China Satellite Network Group, backed by the Chinese Communist government, plans to launch a staggering 12,992 satellites into low-Earth orbit. This initiative, known as “GW,” aims to provide an alternative internet service worldwide and a means to disable Starlink satellites.

China’s strategic move is not merely about establishing a position in the satellite internet market. It is a calculated maneuver aimed at securing China’s position and potentially disabling Starlink. China being China, it cannot be content to develop a program to provide Internet service to its own 1.4 billion people but must aggressively seek the ruination of Starlink in the process.

This ambition is ostensibly driven by concerns about Starlink’s maneuverability and China’s desire for knowledge of Starlink’s satellite locations. The Chinese government’s support for this endeavor goes beyond a commitment to technological self-reliance and seeks hegemony* over the Low Earth Orbit band of space. [*Wikipedia: The political, economic, and military predominance of one state over other states.]

Projected satellite internet market

The satellite internet market is projected to reach $22.57 billion by 2030. The state-owned company SatNet, under the supervision of China’s State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), plans to create two constellations, GW-A59 and GW-2, to provide satellite internet coverage.

However, the road to satellite internet dominance is not without challenges. While Starlink has established a substantial satellite network and has plans for expansion, China’s current operational low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite count is estimated to be a few hundred, with a projected increase to 4,000 by 2027. The gap between China’s satellite network and Starlink is expected to persist as progress has been slow.

Despite these challenges, China’s ambitious plan for 13,000 LEO satellites reflects its relentless pursuit of technological parity with the West amidst strained U.S. relations and trade restrictions.


Randall Brink
Randall Brink
Randall Brink is an author hailing from Idaho. He has written many fiction and non-fiction books, including the critically acclaimed Lost Star: The Search for Amelia Earhart. He is the screenwriter for the new Grizzly Adams television series and the feature film Goldfield. Randall Brink has a diverse background not only as a book author, Hollywood screenwriter and script doctor, but also as an airline captain, chief executive, and Alaska bush pilot.


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Sn Hat
2 months ago

From what I heard, those Chinese satellites will be equipped with space lasers that can reprogram voting machines.

2 months ago

China is a huge threat to the world under Xi. Russia is taking the heat while China quietly builds. Making LEO internet available to Africa and South America will make them more friends, gain natural resources, and slow those resources from reaching democratic nations.

2 months ago
Reply to  Dave

You make some good points Dave.

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