Why did it take so long for SpaceX and NASA to share satellite positioning data? – BGR

NASA likes to launch objects into space. SpaceX has many satellites orbiting the Earth. You would think that, since the two organizations are so closely linked by contracts and agreements, they would have thought of sharing the locations of their various spacecraft with each other to avoid potential problems. Apparently, that hasn’t happened yet, and recently the pair haven’t reached out to the Spaceflight Safety Pact that allows NASA to map the position of the StarXink SpaceX satellite horde to avoid any crashes with a NASA spacecraft. The agreement was announced in a new post by NASA.

The deal will gain further weight as SpaceX continues to strengthen its network of Starlink communications satellites. With hundreds of satellites already in orbit, SpaceX plans to build that number into tens of thousands, providing high-speed data service worldwide. That’s a handful of hardware floating around the Earth, and that means the potential for catastrophic crashes.

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Read NASA’s statement, in part:

This agreement enables a deeper level of coordination, collaboration, and data sharing, and outlines the arrangements, responsibilities, and procedures for coordinating flight safety. The focus of the agreement is on avoiding alliances and launching collisions between NASA spacecraft and the massive constellation of Starlink SpaceX satellites, as well as division-related missions. Correlation is defined as the close connection between two objects in space, usually at very high speeds.

Yeah, that feels really important.

Once NASA is able to send astronauts back to the surface of the moon, it will want to make sure that the skies are clear for the trip, and that is going to mean traveling through the blanket of satellites orbiting our planet. Depending on how many satellites SpaceX had in space before then – it could be several thousand – the chance of collision would still be very small due to their size, but with this new agreement written between the company and NASA, SpaceX will make sure its satellites move well out of the way when the space agency launches a new mission.

SpaceX has agreed that its Starlink satellites will move automatically or manually to ensure that NASA’s science satellite missions and other assets can operate uninterrupted from an accident avoidance perspective. Unless otherwise known by SpaceX, NASA has agreed not to transfer its assets in the event of a possible connection to ensure that the parties do not inadvertently move in. to each other.

It is very unfortunate that we have finally gotten to the point where the risk of satellites and other spacecraft crashing into each other is high enough that an agreement for position data is so scientific. -share, but here we are. It was eventually going to happen one way or another, so it’s good to see that steps are being taken to ensure that the increasingly crowded area around the Earth does not become home to disasters. regular.

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Mike Wehner has been reporting on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and the future of tech. Mike was most recently a Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has appeared in USA Today, Time.com, and in countless web and print outlets. His love of narrating only second place on his game thesis.