So Many Satellites

Satellites – can we ever have enough of them?

Last week Elon Musk got FCC permission to launch 11,925 of the things for providing cheap internet access in backwoods places.

This week Bill Gates, Masa Son and Airbus say they’re backing EarthNow which plans to launch 500 satellites to provide global surveillance.

Is global surveillance a good idea?

Well it might be if it provides unequivocal evidence of who perpetrated the latest horror on mankind.

It is reassuring that, in the global community, rogue countries do feel shame.

They don’t want to be branded thugs, killing and abusing their populations.

When they’re found out they protest it wasn’t them. So at least they’re not shameless.

And if the thugs of this world can be shamed into decent behaviour, or at least into avoiding savagery, then 500 satellites is a good investment.



  1. My biggest concern about 11925 satellites who be the danger of collisions and starting the Kessler Syndrome. Iridium had enough trouble avoiding collisions with just 66 satellites. Nasa’s estimate was that Iridium 33 turned into about 1000 smaller uncontrollable satellites when it smashed into the defunct Cosmos 2251.

  2. Wow SEPAM, absolutely. Had never heard of it and never knew such a thing existed. Thanks for that.

  3. Aha DontAgree – floating space stations in international waters for rocket launches – now that’s a business opportunity. Or maybe a new use for oil drilling platforms

  4. It seems to me that the authorities only can regulate the launches from the soil they control.

    So if you want to avoid all that, the way to go would be to launch from international waters … but that is probably more difficult and expensive than dealing with the authorities.

  5. Who owns space, Dick? It would make sense to have international regulation of what goes up there but, in the current state of international relations, it would probably be a fractious affair. One assumes there’s communication between the FCC and its equivalents in Europe, China, Russia and Africa. But the good thing about space is that there’s plenty of it and I assume there’s loads of room for all this stuff and more.

    • SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

      I heard African nations once attempted to lay claims to geostationary positions. There are supposed to be rules to prevent interference but China just puts in their satellites without asking so the rules are a bit dysfunctional though UN will probably deny this.

  6. So the FCC – a US govt agency – is able to grant licences. Surely there should be international oversight of this sort of thing?

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