Kessler Syndrome

Note: This is a casual collection of articles and reports of interest found on the internet. It will be added to at the bottom of the page as and when I find new items. It is not meant to be a balanced or objective report. Please research your own articles if you’re looking for balanced arguments regarding the need for huge mega-satellite constellations, then research the consequences of giving carte-blanche permission to the likes of SpaceX, Amazon and OneWeb to allow them to literally fill the sky with tens of thousands of satellites which will severely interfere with visual and radio observations of the universe in both day-time and night-time, also hastening the day that the Kessler Syndrome happens (because it will!)

What is the Kessler Syndrome?

The Kessler syndrome (also called the Kessler effect,[1][2]collisional cascading, or ablation cascade), proposed by the NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in 1978, is a scenario in which the density of objects in low Earth orbit (LEO) is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade in which each collision generates space debris that increases the likelihood of further collisions.[3] One implication is that the distribution of debris in orbit could render space activities and the use of satellites in specific orbital ranges difficult for many generations.[3] More: Wikipedia

Below is a collection of archived articles which describe the problem and propose various solutions. The problem faced now (in 2019) is that the satellite population is set to grow significantly within the next few years, along with the risk that objects (active and failed satellites, disused rocket bodies and debris) will have collisions increasingly exponentially.

Archived report from 1990:

Orbiting Debris: A Space Environmental Problem
October 1990 OTA-BP-ISC-72 NTIS order #PB91-114272

  • From the Foreword:

Man-made debris, now circulating in a multitude of orbits about Earth as the result of the exploration and use of the space environment, poses a growing hazard to future space operations. The 6,000 or so debris objects large enough to be cataloged by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network are only a small percentage of the total debris capable of damaging spacecraft. Unless nations reduce the amount of orbital debris they produce, future space activities could suffer loss of capability, destruction of spacecraft, and perhaps even loss of life as a result of collisions between spacecraft and debris.

Starlink “train” of the first 60 satellites seen over the Netherlands just after launch
(Dr Marco Langbroek 2019-05-24)
Example of StarLink Internet Connectivity between New York and London
Starlink Satellite Internet Animation by Dr. Mark Handley

FCC Approves SpaceX Starlink Satellite Plan [link]

Companies Unite to Reject SpaceX Satellite Plans [link]

Uncorrected long duration exposure of Andromeda (Nasa)
Starlink visibility simulation with 12k satellites (42k are now proposed as of Oct 2019!)

**This page is evolving… more to come!