Viasat demands Starlink environmental review
May 5, 2022
By Chris Forrester
Satellite operator Viasat, in a letter to the FCC, says there is growing evidence of the need to perform an environmental review before approving SpaceX’s Starlink application to launch another 30,000 low Earth orbiting satellites.
Viasat’s Jarrett Taubman (VP/deputy chief of Government Affairs), in his letter, claims that SpaceX should not be allowed to expand its Starlink network of satellites because of the light pollution they create.
Taubman says SpaceX’s plan to significantly grow the constellation by seven times “would have significant aesthetic, scientific, social and cultural, and health effects on the human environment on Earth.”
SpaceX/Starlink is asking the FCC for a much larger second generation of satellites and some of which would operate at lower altitudes (340-614 kms) than the existing fleet of about 550 kms.
SpaceX is under an obligation to minimise the light pollution its satellites generate and incorporates visors to reduce astronomical interference.
Taubmann claims in his FCC letter that these visors have not fully mitigated the light pollution issues.
To date this year SpaceX has launched 10 Starlink rocket missions. Another is scheduled for May 5th.