The Director of the European Space Agency urged the leaders of the European continent to stop contributing to Elon Musk’s ambitions to dominate the new space economy and warned that the lack of coordinated action meant that the American billionaire was “making the rules” on his own.
The new European Space Agency’s new director-general Joseph Aschbach said that Europe’s preparation to help Musk’s rapid expansion of Starlink satellite Internet services may hinder its own companies in the region from realizing the potential of commercial space.
“Space will be more restricted [in terms of] Frequency and orbital location,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times. “European governments should collectively…give European suppliers equal opportunities to play in a fair market. ”
Germany recently applied to the International Telecommunications Union, which is responsible for coordinating the use of wireless frequencies to transmit data, to grant Starlink spectrum for approximately 40,000 satellites. Musk has obtained approval for more than 30,000 satellites through U.S. regulatory agencies.
Earlier this year, Musk said that his private rocket company SpaceX is ready to spend $30 billion to expand Starlink.
Aschbach said that Musk’s Starlink is already very large, and it is difficult for regulators or competitors to catch up. “You have one person who owns half of the world’s active satellites. This is quite amazing. In fact, he is making the rules. The rest of the world, including Europe… It’s just not fast enough.”
OneWeb, supported by Starlink and the British government, is pioneering the creation of a giant constellation of hundreds or even thousands of satellites in low earth orbit (LEO) to provide broadband services to places that are difficult to reach by cables.
Both the Chinese government and Amazon’s Kuiper project plan to launch their own low-orbit constellations.
Driven by lower launch costs and lower satellite prices, a new generation of aerospace companies is also committed to providing commercial services from low earth orbit, such as earth observation.
The eagerness to take advantage of the potential of commercial space-made possible through lower launch costs and cheaper and smaller satellites-has raised concerns about the lack of a global space traffic management system in low earth orbit, which is a distance of 2,000 kilometers from the earth. The target of most new business services in the region.
Satellite Industry Association estimated By 2029, there may be more than 100,000 commercial spacecraft in orbit.
Luxembourg Minister of Economy, Franz Fayot (Franz Fayot) expressed Ashbach’s concerns, saying that new rules are needed to ensure the safe use of space.
“There are people like Elon Musk who just launch constellations and satellites, and then put Tesla into orbit. We need to make common rules. Colonization, or just doing things in a completely deregulated space, yes One question,” he said on the sidelines of the new space conference in Luxembourg.
Starlink did not respond to a request for comment.
The satellite sector in Europe is dominated by traditional operators, who rely on a small number of expensive high-orbit satellites to provide services such as television transmission.
Although the ITU coordinates radio frequencies, there is no overall international authority or regulatory body that controls satellite launches. One concern is that as the orbit becomes too congested, the risk of collision will increase, which may produce a catastrophic amount of debris. Cosmic garbage It is already a major hidden danger.
Steve Collar, chief executive officer of satellite operator SES, stated that the industry “is moving towards deploying too many satellites. Many of these plans… are a direct response to the fact that no one is properly supervising them.” “Luxembourg owns one-third of SES voting rights.
Especially Musk has been criticized by astronomers and competitors for his expansion speed. Earlier this year, his SpaceX rocket company launched more than 100 satellites a month, of which nearly 2,000 are currently in low earth orbit.
According to a report by astronomers, astronomers worry that a large number of satellites will interfere with ground-based telescopes and may “affect the appearance of the night sky for stargazers around the world.” American Astronomical Society.
Ralph Dinsley, the founder of NORSS, which tracks space objects, said that Musk has built his own satellite and can launch it with his SpaceX rocket company, which means he can be faster than his competitors. Occupy the most ideal orbital plane. “At the speed he can put these planes into orbit, he almost owns these orbital planes because no one can enter there. He is creating Musk’s sovereignty in space.”
Aschbach said that it is clear that the U.S. regulators that are part of the national government “are not only interested in developing the economy, but also in certain dominance of certain economic sectors. This is happening… very, very, very, Very clear. And very strong.”