Satellite congestion

Authors

  • Anonymous


Abstract

At last count, there were more than 160 satellites in geostationary orbits, circling the earth at an altitude of 37,000 km, and according to a research review published recently by the Rand Corporation, that's already too crowded. The risk of physical collisions among satellites is small, say authors Alvin L. Hiebert and William Sollfrey, but there is an emerging problem with what they call “spectral and orbital congestion,” the result of too many satellites and ground stations sending out too many electromagnetic signals that can interfere with one another.

The report comes at a time when the Federal Communications Commission is planning to reduce the spacing between satellites along the U.S. segment of the orbital arc so that 37 additional satellites can be squeezed into the high orbit favored for telecommunications. “As more satellites are launched and others are shifted to avoid collisions, interference problems will get more complicated,” say the authors of the report.

Ancillary