Issue #4(22) 2019 Astronautics

Open source space sustainability

ConsenSys Space/NASA
ConsenSys Space/NASA
Brian Israel ConsenSys Space, Washington DC, USA

The prospect of so-called ‘mega constellations’ causing a potential 10 to 25-fold increase in the number of low Earth satellites is raising public awareness and concern about the long-term sustainability of space activities. An innovative open source system called TruSat is creating new opportunities for concerned citizens around the world to be part of the solution.

A September 2019 manoeuvre of the European Space Agency (ESA) Aeolus Earth observation satellite to avoid a potential collision with a satellite in the SpaceX Starlink constellation thrust once obscure matters of space traffic management into the headlines, and heightened global public concern about the long-term sustainability of the space activities on which the world increasingly depends.

That the conjunction involved a Starlink satellite likely contributed to the public interest and concern. If SpaceX delivers on its plans to launch an additional 1000 Starlink satellites by the end of 2020, it will single-handedly increase the number of operational satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) by 50 percent. SpaceX has received regulatory authorisation for 12,000 Starlink satellites, and recently sought authorisation for an additional 30,000 satellites. The regulatory filings of SpaceX, OneWeb, and Amazon’s Project Kuiper alone foreshadow a 10 to 25-fold increase in the population of LEO satellites in the coming decade.

If you already have a login and password to access - Please log in to be able to read all the articles of the site.

Popular articles

See also


Space kaleidoscope - towards a genuine multi-messenger exploration


Could Brexit blow a hole in UK’s space ambitions?


Russia and safe space initiatives

Popular articles

Artist’s impression of Sentinel-5P and the Tropomi), which maps a multitude of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols - all of which affect our health and our climate. Astronautics

Building space-qualified detector chips


Nutritional issues on interplanetary spaceflights