Satellite constellations: polluted and privatized space?  |  echo

Satellite constellations: polluted and privatized space? | echo

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This coffee took place at Café des Arts on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Coffee sign is Available here. Presentations initially by Emil Novakov and Fabian Malbet are available in the corresponding column, on the left.

With Elon Musk’s Starlink project, and rival OneWeb, private companies promise fast Internet access over the entire surface of the Earth, thanks to constellations of low-orbit satellites that will permanently fly over the entire Earth. The numbers might make you giddy, because Elon Musk aims to put 12,000 satellites into orbit by 2025 and 40,000 eventually.

Besides the obvious charitable goal of ensuring fast internet access everywhere in the world, many questions arise: by reflecting the light they generate at the beginning and end of the night, when they are still exposed to the sun, these satellites will not cause annoying light pollution especially to scientists Astronomy and radio frequency interference? What about the debris left behind from launches, which is already a problem for existing satellites? What are the consequences of outsourcing such a tool to private companies? What are the international laws and regulations that regulate the launch and use of these towers? Will it be an issue of military operations in the event of a conflict (these satellites have already played a military role, since Elon Musk first gave, and then withdrew, access to his network to the Ukrainian military)? Simply put, are these projects economically profitable and who will be their audience in the face of other modes of communication such as fiber antennas and 5G antennas that are developing very quickly on the surface of the earth?

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Our speakers are:


  • Fabian Malbet, Astrophysicist

  • Emil Novakovspecializing in networks and communications

  • Jean-Christophe FedelienProfessor of Law

and the supervisor : Emmanuel Portot

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