Promoting space safety by adopting relevant standards has been in focus for now. NASA said that it has signed an agreement with SpaceX to maintain and promote space safety. SpaceX is a private aerospace company. It is owned by space enthusiast Elon Musk. Both NASA and SpaceX will work on conjunction avoidance. Besides, they will also work actively on launch collision avoidance between the agency’s spacecraft and Starlink satellites of SpaceX. In science, a conjunction is the coming together of two objects at a very high speed. It could cause severe damage to the assets. NASA said that the pact will safeguard Earth’s communication capabilities. It said that people depend on space-based capabilities for access channels of communications and more activities.
Space debris is increasing rapidly. Several space agencies and private companies are launching satellites rapidly. This is increasing debris in space. This poses a threat to the health of other satellites. Launching satellites is critical for bolstering the communication network. The new agreement will make sure a safe space environment for launches. According to SpaceX, the Starlink constellation consists of thousands of small satellites that orbit the Earth in a low orbit. The pact will benefit both NASA and SpaceX. This will provide real-time data related to the location of spacecraft and debris. Scientists will the data to plan for future launches and navigate the satellites accordingly.
SpaceX said that under the pact with NASA, its satellites will maneuver to pave the way for uninterrupted operations of the agency’s satellites. It will also guard NASA’s other assets in space. It said that satellites can manually or autonomously perform maneuvers. NASA said that it will not maneuver its assets. It will undertake such exercise only when informed by SpaceX. The US space agency and the Department of Defense together hold decades of experience in managing possible risks of collision in space and impacts on Earth. NASA said that conjunctions can be avoided when there are coordination and accurate data available. The deal is significant because astronomers in past raised concerns about the Starlink satellites’ adverse impact on astronomy. They said that satellites could jam Earth’s orbital environment.