SpaceX, the space company owned by Elon Musk, has denied claims by rival OneWeb that its satellites nearly collided in Earth’s orbit earlier this month.
The two satellite companies worked together and met Tuesday along with a representative from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). “The probability of collision never exceeded the threshold for a maneuver [to avoid collisions], and the satellites would not have collided even if no maneuver had been performed,” SpaceX told the FCC, according to information obtained by ArsTechnica.
This meeting of companies came after The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Elon Musk’s Satellite Internet Project Is Too Risky, Rivals Say.”
Starlink satellites have gotten alarmingly close to other spacecraft twice in the past two years, including on April 2, when a Starlink satellite triggered another one operated by OneWeb, controlled by the Indian conglomerate Bharti Global and the UK government. United, it will carry out evasive maneuvers, according to OneWeb. and the US Space Command, says the WSJ article.
Satellites in conflict
Cris McLaughlin, OneWeb’s head of government affairs, said in the WSJ article that a Starlink-operated satellite came within 57 meters of a OneWeb satellite. Faced with this situation, the Starlink satellites turned off their autonomous system to avoid a possible collision and allow OneWen to maneuver.
SpaceX responded in its ex-part FCC filing, saying that OneWeb had requested that it temporarily turn off its collision avoidance system in order to maneuver its satellite.
Elon Musk’s company said its collision avoidance system “was and remains fully functional at all times” and that its satellite had performed many similar maneuvers in the past together with OneWeb, “without problems.”
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