SpaceX carries out 2219 collision avoidance moves
August 24, 2021
By Chris Forrester
Space is an increasingly crowded place and in the first 6 months of the year (to May 31st) SpaceX says it has had to carry out 2219 collision avoidance manoeuvres for its orbiting Starlink fleet.
This aerial ballet of ever-moving satellites comes from data supplied by the US Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron.
As reported by Space Intel Report, SpaceX is using an extremely diligent set of standards and its Starlink satellites are autonomously shifting their orbits slightly when there is a ‘greater than 1-in-100,000 chance of a collision with a piece of space debris or another company’s satellite.
SpaceX and rival OneWeb have already had to carry out at least one deliberate move to avoid a collision between their satellites, although in a formal half-year report to the FCC SpaceX says it had deliberately moved the obit of one of its satellites about 5 times in the 6 months to May 31st.
SpaceX, in its FCC report, says that 30 Starlink craft have been removed from operation and 13 satellites de-orbited. Two had failed for propulsion problems and one because of a solar array malfunction.