Elon Musk rejects criticism that his satellite fleet is dangerous

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 30 December 2021 14:24 GMT
(AFP via Getty Images)

Elon Musk has rejected criticism that his fleet of internet satellites are dangerous and greedy.

Mr Musk’s SpaceX operates vast numbers of satellites that circle the Earth to provide internet to people down below.

He argues that they will help bring reliable and fast internet connections to vast swathes of the planet. But astronomers have said they are blocking the view of the skies, and space experts have warned they risk colliding and causing dangers in space.

The head of the European Space Agency argued Mr Musk was “making the rules” for industrial operations above Earth, and China said its space station was being forced to dodge the Starlink satellites.

But Mr Musk has now said that the impact of the satellites is “nothing” and that they are not causing issues.

“Space is just extremely enormous, and satellites are very tiny,” he told the Financial Times.

“This is not some situation where we’re effectively blocking others in any way. We’ve not blocked anyone from doing anything, nor do we expect to.”

He said the impact of a couple of thousand satellites is “nothing”, and just comparable to a similar number of cars on Earth.

Space experts have argued that it would only take a relatively minimal collision to cause major disruption in the skies above Earth and on the people below.

A 1978 study by a Nasa scientist gave rise to the fear of “Kessler syndrome”, where even a minor collision could set off a domino effect that could form a layer of debris – not only destroying satellites but making new space launches impossible.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in