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Mega-Constellations: What is all the fuss about?
Friday 18th February 2022
Start time : 20:00
Speaker : Tereza Pultarova
When first proposals appeared in 2014 to wrap a network of small satellites tightly around the Earth to beam high-speed internet to the world’s unconnected, many were very sceptical. Less than a decade later, mega-constellations have arrived, and they are proving even more controversial than expected. With less than 20% of its planned constellation of 12,000 satellites in orbit, Starlink, run by rocket company SpaceX, is already responsible for over half of all close passes with other spacecraft. By the time the full constellation is up, it will be 90%. The relatively inexperienced satellite operator will be effectively in charge of safety of orbital operations. But it’s not only the risk of collisions that worries experts. Mega-constellations are made of small and cheap satellites, designed to be replaced every five years. That means an unprecedented amount of aluminium burning in the upper layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, potentially triggering climate altering chemical reactions. This talk, by Space.com senior writer Tereza Pultarova will look at the major issues of mega-constellations as discussed by space debris experts, astronomers and atmosphere scientists worldwide.
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About our speaker:
Tereza is a London-based science and technology journalist, aspiring fiction writer and amateur gymnast. Originally from Prague, the Czech Republic, she spent the first seven years of her career working as a reporter, script-writer and presenter for various TV programmes of the Czech Public Service Television. She later took a career break to pursue further education and added a Master's in Science from the International Space University, France, to her Bachelor's in Journalism and Master's in Cultural Anthropology from Prague's Charles University. She worked as a reporter at the Engineering and Technology magazine, freelanced for a range of publications including Live Science, Space.com, Professional Engineering, Via Satellite and Space News and served as a maternity cover science editor at the European Space Agency.