Thousands of new satellites are expected to be launched into low-Earth orbit in the coming years to provide high-speed broadband, and the projects have caused concern for experts and government officials who worry about a worsening space debris problem.
As the Federal Communications Commission considers satellite applications from SpaceX, OneWeb, Boeing, and others, two US senators asked the FCC to coordinate with other agencies to prevent space debris.
"As the Commission considers multiple requests for new LEO [low-Earth orbit] satellite constellations, we ask that you formally coordinate with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish an interagency working group on space debris and to develop a comprehensive domestic policy on space debris mitigation," Sens.
Booker and Sullivan didn't mention any particular companies but laid out several reasons for concern in their letter to Pai:
As you may know, the US Department of Defense Space Surveillance Network currently tracks nearly 22,000 pieces of orbital debris, defined as man-made objects in Earth's orbit that no longer serve a useful purpose.
This figure does not include hundreds of thousands of pieces of debris smaller than 10cm that are also orbiting the Earth.