SpaceX principal engineer David Goldstein said the report relied on “deeply flawed analysis”.
In late August, we reported that SpaceX CEO and Big Tech billionaire Elon Musk slammed the U.S. Justice Department over its accusations that the company discriminated against asylum recipients and refugees in hiring for the high-tech positions required to produce sophisticated satellite systems.
Now SpaceX is blasting the Federal Aviation Administration over its report assessing the risks of falling space debris from its satellites.
The crisis-loving bureaucrats appeared to have over-emphasized the dangers.
The report was delivered to members of Congress by the Federal Aviation Administration, which licenses the launch and reentry of commercial spacecraft, on October 5.
The 35-page analysis, compiled in part by the nonprofit research group The Aerospace Corporation, offers a dire picture of the potential dangers associated with large networks of satellites such as Starlink, suggesting that by 2035, “if the expected large constellation growth is realized and debris from Starlink satellites survive reentry … one person on the planet would be expected to be injured or killed every two years.”
It also estimates that the probability of an aircraft being downed by a collision with falling space debris could be 0.0007 per year by 2035.
SpaceX principal engineer David Goldstein said the report relied on “deeply flawed analysis” based on assumptions, guesswork, and outdated studies….which passes for “settled science” among the bureaucrats.
“To be clear, SpaceX’s satellites are designed and built to fully demise during atmospheric reentry during disposal at end of life, and they do so [emphasis in original],” Goldstein wrote in the letter.
“Extensive engineering analysis and real-world operational experience verify this basic fact.”
The FAA based its conclusions on a claim that the space industry has not met the 90% success rate for post-mission disposal, he added, whereas he said SpaceX’s post-mission disposal success rate is greater than 99%.
Goldstein also said the analysis improperly leveraged a 23-year-old NASA study that found roughly one piece of debris survives reentry for every 100 kilograms on Iridium Communications satellites — a much smaller LEO constellation.
“The analysis is inapplicable to SpaceX satellites because — among other things — Iridium satellites were not even built to be fully demisable,” he said, and are “not similar in material, construction, design, orbit and operation from SpaceX or any other modern satellite in LEO.”
We wish SpaceX and Musk a ton of good luck in their push-back against bureaucratic and regulatory harassment.DONATE
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