Space agency satellite forced to dodge SpaceX ‘mega constellation’ orbiting Earth

ESA’s Aeolus satellite

ESA’s Aeolus satellite

Without the manoeuvre, the satellites could have collided high above Earth, ESA warned. The constellation, which has the goal of providing worldwide broadband internet access, could eventually be comprised of nearly 12,000 satellites.

Elon Musk's SpaceX satellite constellation had a near collision with the European Space Agency's Aeolus satellite, forcing it to fire its thrusters to raise its altitude in an emergency avoidance maneuver.

ESA discovered it would be safer for the Aeolus ESA satellite to increase its altitude, allowing it to fly over the unsafe constellation.

The ESA operations team confirmed that this morning's manoeuvre took place approximately half an orbit before the potential pileup.

Soon after they had been calculated to potentially crash, the satellite beamed back data to reassure engineers the collision had been avoided.

San Diego Rescue Team goes to Florida for Hurricane Dorian
But despite the damage, Henfield told ZNS that the citizens of the Bahamas and its government are "holding strong". The county, which includes Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, was under a tropical storm warning late Monday.

Previous year alone ESA performed 28 collision avoidance maneuvers, largely in an effort to keep its probes safe from defunct satellites or debris.

ESA has been forced to reposition an Earth-observing satellite to avoid a potential collision with a member of SpaceX's Starlink mega constellation.

However, a growing number of companies are intent on placing their own mega constellations in orbit - vast shoals of hundreds or even thousands of satellites. In the future, the ESA plans to automate the process of satellite collision avoidance using AI.

The European Space Agency said it was the first time the satellite had to be moved to prevent a collision with a cluster of satellites.

According to Holger Krag, head of the Space Debris Office at ESA, the risk of collision between the two satellites was 1 in 1,000 - ten times higher than the threshold that requires a collision-avoidance manoeuvre. "From the initial assessment of a potential collision to a satellite moving out of the way, automated systems are becoming necessary to protect our space infrastructure". "There has been very little communication regarding Starlink, despite repeated attempts by ESA to contact them (this is the first email SpaceX had sent)", he added.

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