FAA Warns Satellites May Start Falling To Earth

Space debris is increasing, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is concerned that it poses a potential danger. According to a recent report, the FAA has said by 2035, there could be a risk of one person being killed every two years by satellites falling from space.

The frequency of launches is on the rise at Florida’s Space Coast, and experts emphasize the importance of enhanced tracking to prevent potential accidents.

Dr. Madhur Tiwari, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering at Florida Tech, commented, “There are millions if not billions or trillions of objects which are untracked.”

Tiwari and his team have secured a new grant to explore an artificial intelligence-based solution for managing space debris.

Tiwari said there is “3D modeling of these debris fields, using machine learning and just vision, and it’s going to happen on the spacecraft without any humans in the loop.”

The FAA is alarmed by the growing space clutter, especially the significant proliferation of non-geostationary satellites, particularly in low Earth orbit. This poses an elevated risk to both people on Earth and aviation due to the potential hazards associated with reentering debris.

In 2035, the FAA projects that around 28,000 satellite fragments may endure re-entry, potentially resulting in harm or even fatalities to people on Earth.

The issue with space debris not only revolves around the sheer quantity but also the high velocities at which these objects move, as pointed out by Tiwari.

Mark Marquette, who serves as the community liaison for the American Space Museum in Titusville, Florida, said, “We’re experiencing congestion as these aging satellites need to be de-orbited.”

In addition to his role at the museum, Marquette is a local astronomer who has observed the rising numbers of satellites through his telescope. He emphasized the necessity for enhanced monitoring of objects in orbit.

“We’ve got hundreds of third stages orbiting the Earth that are full of fuel that wasn’t expended,” Marquette pointed out, expressing concerns about potential hazards when they re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

FOX 35 News contacted SpaceX for a response to the report, but as of now, there has been no response from the company. SpaceX has outlined plans to conduct around 100 missions this year, with a significant portion dedicated to deploying Starlink satellites.