Impacts of Large Satellite Constellations on Astronomy: Live Updates
Kelsie Krafton American Astronomical Society (AAS)
If you have questions about the impact of satellite constellations on astronomy, AAS's Public Policy Department (AASPPD) will be publishing updates on this page from now on. Many of our efforts are done in collaboration with the IAU as part of an AAS/IAU Satellite Constellation Working Group (SCWG).
Updates from the AAS
- Members of the SCWG presented at AAS 236 during a press conference and a plenary session. If you registered for AAS 236, you can use your login to watch sessions posted on our site, and in about six months they will be made available to the public (around the time of AAS 237). Members of the SCWG will present to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Space Studies Board (SSB) and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) at the 2020 Joint Meeting of the ASEB and the SSB, to be held virtually this year from Monday, 8 June to Thursday, June 11. The SCWG is organizing a technical workshop for 29 June to 2 July.
- AASPPD establishes this webpage to help keep the community better informed. AASPPD co-hosted a webinar with the Satellite Industry Association (SIA) aimed at informing the satellite industry of the impacts satellite constellations have on the astronomical sciences.
- The Editor of AAS Nova, Susanna Kohler, published a summary of Jonathan McDowell's ApJL paper on satellite constellations. AASPPD has a call with the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) to discuss our approach to the satellite constellation problem. Members of SCWG and SpaceX present to the Astro2020 Subcommittee on Satellite MegaConstellations.
- The AASPPD has an informational meeting with the FAA to be more educated on some of the technical aspects of satellite constellations. The AASPPD co-hosted an informational Hill briefing on satellite constellations with our Hill briefing series partner, Smithsonian.
- The AASPPD is contacted by lawyers and the NRDC to discuss satellite constellations and environmental law.
- At AAS 235, AASPPD had an in-person meeting with the Committee on Astronomy and Public Policy during which we discussed our strategy for addressing the impacts of satellite constellations. Also at AAS 235, there was a press conference with members of the SCWG titled "Astronomy Confronts Satellite Constellations", the recording of which is posted under Archived Presentations. Additionally, members of the SCWG and Patricia Cooper of SpaceX sat on a panel for a special session titled "Challenges to Astronomy from Satellites". Then NSF Director, France Cordova, brought up the impacts of constellation satellites on astronomy during a Congressional hearing. AASPPD meets with the Office of Space Commerce to discuss the impacts of satellite constellations on astronomy. The SCWG has our first meeting with OneWeb. Pat Seitzer (MSU, member of SCWG) presents on to the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee.
- The SCWG opens a survey for individual observatories to tell us how satellite constellations will impact them, the summary of our findings is here. An update for the community is posted to the AAS Public Policy Blog. Eighth call between SCWG and SpaceX.
- The APPD updates Congressional staffers on satellite constellations.
- The SCWG hosts a call with ground-based OIR observatory directors to discuss impacts from satellite constellations. AASPPD discusses increasing concerns around satellite constellations with Congressional staffers. The AAS Light Pollution, Radio Interference, and Space Debris (LPRISD) Committee invited abstracts for the Special Session "Challenges to Astronomy from Satellites" (formerly "Threats to Astronomy from Lighting and Satellites") which was held on 8 January 2020 at the 235th AAS meeting in Honolulu. The Pentagon laid out a five-year draft budget for the Space Development Agency (SDA), which included plans for fiscal years (FY) 2021 to 2025 for research, development, prototyping, testing and deployment of large constellations of satellites for military use. Virgin Space and Firefly Aerospace give a Congressional briefing on the small satellites launch industry.
- Sixth call between SCWG and SpaceX. ExoAnalytic Solutions gives a Congressional briefing on space debris.
- AASPPD discusses satellite constellations with the National Space Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Updates from Others
- FCC Fact Sheet for Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age and an article from the Professional Aerospace Contractors Association on challenges to the FCC's new orbital debris regulations. SpaceX files with the FCC to lower the Starlink orbits. SpaceX itself also issued its own statement and there is a summary with additional context on the AAS website.
- A press release from ESO and AIP FYI's weekly update for for the week of 9 March 2020 covered the AASPPD Hill briefing on satellite constellations.
- A report by the Institut Montaigne (a French think tank) recommends the European Union write policy governing broadband satellite constellations.
- ESO makes a statement on satellite constellations
- OneWeb submits a letter to the FCC in opposition of SpaceX's applications to expand their Starlink constellation. One week later SpaceX submitted its own letter to the FCC.
- Amazon's Kuiper satellite constellation submits a letter to the FCC
- SpaceX FCC filing for Starlink
- Gaspar Bakos (Princeton) also keeps an updates page for satellite constellations.
- Jonathan McDowell (CfA) also keeps an update page for satellites and launches (twitter)
- Olivier Hainaut's simulations page
- "The Low Earth Orbit Satellite Population and Impacts of the SpaceX Starlink Constellation" by Jonathan C. McDowell. Ap J Letters. Apr. 2020
- "The Future of the Night Sky: Light Pollution from Satellites" by the Aerospace Corporation. Mar. 2020.
- Report on impact from LEO satellite constellations by Vera C. Rubin Observatory (last update Mar. 2020)
- "On the Impact of Satellite Constellations on Astronomical Observations in the Visible and Infrared Domains" by Olivier R. Hainaut and Andrew P. Williams. Astronomy and Astrophysics. Mar. 2020
- An article from Space News (Jun. 2020) on the presentations at AAS 236
- An article from Space News (May 2020) on another satellite constellation
- List of articles from GeekWire on Amazon's Project Kuiper
- An article from GeekWire (May 2020) on Amazon's interest in acquiring OneWeb
- An article from SpaceRef (May 2020) on OneWeb's increase to 48,000 satellites
- An article from Room (Apr. 2020) on ground-based observing
- An article from Space Daily (Apr. 2020) on the Starlink sunshades
- An article from PetaPixel (Apr. 2020) on SpaceX's mitigation plan
- An article from Space News (Apr. 2020) on a new rules proposal for the FCC
- An article from The Telegraph (Apr. 2020) on OneWeb's bankruptcy
- An article from Sky & Telescope (Apr. 2020) on Starlink and astronomy
- An article from The Space Review (Mar. 2020) on OneWeb and Starlink
- An article from Business Insider (Mar. 2020) on a meeting between European astronomers and SpaceX
- An article from Politico (Mar. 2020) on Astranis, a new type of satellite constellation
- An article from cnet (Mar. 2020) on Elon Musk's comments on Starlink at the SATELLITE2020 conference
- An article from Newsweek (Feb. 2020) on Russian complaints about satellite constellations
- An article from Bloomberg news (Feb. 2020) on SpaceX considering a public offering of Starlink
- An article from BBC News (Jan. 2020) on Starlink's time constraints to fix the brightness issue
- An article from Scientific American (Jan. 2020) on whether satellite constellations violate environmental law
- An article from SpaceNews (Jan. 2020) on SpaceX's launch schedule for 2020
- An article from SpaceNews (Dec. 2019) on changes to the Starlink satellite constellation
- An article from SpaceNews (Dec. 2019) on the downsizing of the Sky and Space Global constellation
- An article from SpaceNews (Nov. 2019) on the shutdown of LeoSat
- An article from The New York Times (Nov. 2019) on the negative impacts to astronomy from satellite constellations
- An article from SpaceNews (Sept. 2019) on whether satellite constellations can be responsible users of space
- An article from SpaceNews (May 2019) on the development of a "space sustainability" rating system
Social Media Updates
Participate in a long-term citizen science project to photographically track the population growth of satellites constellations over time.
June 2020: A technical workshop on problems and solutions. Also NSF's Spectrum Innovation Initiative: National Center for Wireless Spectrum Research (SII-Center) has issued a call for proposals due June 12.
- Slides from Joel Parriott (AASPPD) that can at the end of the webinar on satellite constellations in May 2020
- Presentation by Patricia Cooper (SpaceX) from a webinar on satellite constellations in May 2020
- Presentation by Tony Tyson (Vera Rubin Observatory) from a webinar on satellite constellations in May 2020
- Presentation by Pat Seitzer (UMich) for a webinar on satellite constellations in May 2020
- Webinar: From Orbital Debris to GPS vs 5G: Decoding the FCC’s Role in Space Policy
- Aerospace Corporation's Center for Space Policy and Strategy Webinar Series
- Webinar: OneWeb’s Bankruptcy: Impacts and Implications for the Satellite Industry
- During the pandemic, AAS has a page to find live-streamed astronomy presentations and events, some of which cover satellite constellations
- The Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics set up a Space Science Week 2020 page that has many useful presentations archived.
- Presentation by Tony Beasley (Director of NRAO) for a Hill briefing on satellite constellations in Mar. 2020
- Presentation by Piero Benvenuti (IAU) at COPUOS from Feb. 2020 - COPUOS_57th_STSC.pdf
- Press Conference at AAS 235 (Jan. 2020) "Astronomy Confronts Satellite Constellations"
- Additional Information