A group of astronomers has threatened to file a case against SpaceX and its Starlink satellite constellation project. According to the astronomers, the presence of Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit has detrimental effects on astronomy and the sky.
Starlink is an ambitious project developed by SpaceX in an effort to deliver high-speed internet connection from space. As part of the project, the company intends to launch thousands of Starlink satellites into space.
Issues With Starlink Project
SpaceX officially kicked off Starlink with the launch of 60 satellites in May last year. Since then, the company has been launching satellites in batches. The upcoming launches this month and in March would bring the total number of Starlink satellites in space to 240. According to the company, the goal of the project is to launch a total of 42,000 satellites into low-Earth Orbit.
Although SpaceX is still far from its target, the number of Starlink satellites currently operating in space is already causing problems for many astronomers from different parts of the world. According to them, the presence of the satellites can affect their observations of the night sky due to their brightness and reflectivity. Previous reports have revealed how the light streaks produced by SpaceX's satellites can disrupt observations of cosmic objects and structures.
Legal Action Against SpaceX
In response to the issue, a group of astronomers has called for legal action against the company and its project. They said they plan to file a case with the International Court of Justice, arguing that the night sky is a shared human right protected by the World Heritage Convention. "The harm here is damage to our cultural heritage, the night sky, and monetary damages due to the loss of radio and other types of astronomy," the astronomers wrote in a paper submitted for publication through Arxiv.
According to the astronomers, their goal is to temporarily stop the launch of satellites and other similar projects in the future. Doing so will give way to studies that aim to analyze the impact of satellite constellation projects on the sky. The results of these studies could be used to draft a new set of regulations regarding large-scale satellite projects.