Friday 24 November 2017

New satellites 'could lead to catastrophic collisions'

Stock picture
Stock picture

Ben Mitchell

The launch of "mega-constellations" of thousands of communication satellites could lead to a rise in collisions and build-up of space junk in Earth's orbit, scientists have warned.

A decrease in the cost of the manufacture of satellites is set to lead to the deployment of hundreds or thousands into space from next year, creating a massive rise in the number of active satellites from the 1,300 currently in use.

But Dr Hugh Lewis, senior lecturer in aerospace engineering at the University of Southampton in England, warned that a 200-year computer simulation has shown the creation of a mega-constellation could create a 50pc increase in the number of "catastrophic collisions" between satellites and an increase in space junk in orbit.

Dr Lewis said collisions could have an impact on the services provided by the satellites.

Irish Independent

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