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Is There Space for 12,000 More Satellites Up There?

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 Astronomy   |   Physics   |   Science
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SpaceX wants to launch nearly 12,000 satellites into orbit, nearly ten times the number of active satellites currently up there. But is there room?

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Elon Musk's SpaceX Sends Secret US Spy Satellite Into Orbit, Then Lands Rocket
"It was the 34th mission for SpaceX, but its first flight for the Department of Defense, a customer long-pursued by company founder Elon Musk. The privately owned SpaceX once sued the Air Force over its exclusive launch services contract with United Launch Alliance (ULA), a partnership of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing. Monday's 7:15 a.m. EDT (1115 GMT) liftoff of a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) officially broke ULA's 10-year monopoly on launching U.S. military and national security satellites."

The Plan to Recycle Space Junk for Missions to Mars
"One of our sadder legacies from nearly six decades of space exploration is a chain of orbital debris surrounding Earth. Some pieces are as small as flecks of paint, while others are the corpses of dead satellites long out of fuel. NASA estimates that more than a half-million fragments are out there, occasionally posing threats to the International Space Station (ISS) or satellites. Collisions have happened before and will very likely happen again."

SpaceX plans worldwide satellite Internet with low latency, gigabit speed
"SpaceX has detailed ambitious plans to bring fast Internet access to the entire world with a new satellite system that offers greater speeds and lower latency than existing satellite networks. The private spacecraft company founded by CEO Elon Musk filed an application Tuesday for satellite space station authorizations with the US Federal Communications Commission. SpaceX recently said that its satellite service's commercial availability date has not yet been determined, but the application's technical description mentioned 2019 as a possible time for launching satellites into orbit."


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