Written in the Stars: Why Launching Starlink May Not Be the Best Idea
Businesses, like people, need the right support and tools in order to thrive. Some areas of business give you room to experiment (take marketing, for example).
Other areas of business like your network and communications systems, however, depend upon having the right tools in place and proper designs that will allow you to grow over the years and easily maintain your network when the unexpected happens.
That said, few business owners have the IT skills necessary to find and integrate the right systems into their business. This brings them to the age-old question, who do I know to reach out to for help?
Typically, you will run into two types of professionals when you begin your search: generalists and specialists. Generalists may have a number of skills in different areas while specialists are designed to provide you with a specific type of support. But who are you supposed to choose?
If you are running into this issue while looking for help setting up your technical systems, let’s run through these two types of professionals and find out who will be the best fit for your needs.
Is Starlink Worth the Risk?
Starlink is yet another ambitious project by Elon Musk that is intended to tackle inherent issues with traditional satellite internet in order to provide a more effective and reliable network for everyone.
While the project has listed a number of benefits that will accompany its deployment and use, an equal number of potential issues are being cited by those who have already been impacted by Starlink satellites.
In order to better understand both sides of the conversation and what the SpaceX Starlink risks are, we must first understand what Starlink is and how it functions.
What Is Starlink?
Starlink is a project that will deploy a series of satellites (which, according to sources, are intended to reach numbers in the tens of thousands as the project progresses) designed to provide high-speed, broadband internet to the globe, especially those where internet is often inaccessible, expensive, or unreliable.
Starlink highlights the many benefits of the Starlink network on its website, focusing primarily on the following.
- Satellites that utilize their propulsion to deorbit when they’ve run their course (or burning up in 1 to 5 years if their propulsion is not working).
- A more compact design for easier deployment, which features elements like a star tracker for efficient broadband throughput, a krypton-powered ion propulsion system, a single solar array, and four powerful phased array antennas.
- The ability to autonomously avoid any oncoming debris or spacecraft at risk of colliding with the satellites (which is said to be more efficient than navigating them manually).
Space X hopes to provide service to the Northern U.S. and Canada by the end of 2020, intending on covering the rest of the world’s internet needs by 2021.
While the project certainly looks promising, many have concerns about the damage that could be done by a network of this size. But where exactly do these concerns lie?
The Risks of the Starlink Network
SpaceX Proposed Satellite Network
- Increase in space debris and potential collisions: One thing is certain, and that is that the Starlink project has been given the go-ahead to launch 12,000 of their satellites into outer space. The issue? Starlink truly wants to launch 42,000 of its satellites into low orbit, which can be a problem given its recent near-collision with an ESA satellite. This, in addition to the fact that OneWeb, Amazon, and TeleSat all want to launch their own networks, leaves many to wonder whether or not this type of network will not pose a danger in regards to collisions and the amount of space debris that will be created. If collisions occur at a catastrophic level, we can lose access to systems that we use today as well as the potential to launch new satellites with all of the space debris floating around.
- Damage to astronomical research: The current number of low-orbit satellites has already caused problems for astronomers looking to practice their science and collect data about space. Should Starlink and other networks be deployed, many astronomers believe that their job could become impossible to do, cutting us off from the stars and potentially damaging space infrastructures currently in place.
- The social repercussions of globally accessible internet: The internet has its advantages and disadvantages. Arguably one of the biggest risks is the social change that accessible internet may present, with increased access potentially resulting in decreased engagement with the world and the people around us (research shows that there is a direct correlation between unhappiness and technology). Some may cite advantages like the ability to participate in the stock market with greater ease and speed as global internet closes existing time gaps for traders. However, the appropriate question to ask in response is, are certain advantages such as increased speed worth the accompanying disadvantages like those mentioned above?
So, Is Starlink Worth the Risk?
The answer to this question isn’t one that can be easily summarized into one argument. However, there are risks that should be evaluated and solved before the Starlink network should be allowed to make its full debut on our planet.
For now, there are plenty of people who have enough trouble with their current networks and telecommunications systems. If you need assistance with your communications now, reach out to a knowledgeable, experienced company that can help you solve problems and provide you with the support you need in today’s world.