Irritated scientists at NASA have said they are "worried" that Elon Musk may be launching too many satellites.
The billionaire owner of carmaker Tesla and space exploration company SpaceX plans to deploy about 30,000 satellites for his Starlink satellite project, which would give broadband internet access to most people on Earth.
The firm had previously received authorisation for about 12,000 satellites to go up into space — but now NASA boffins are worried that the orbiting structures could get in the way of future space missions.
Writing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) telecommunications regulator, the space agency said: "NASA has concerns with the potential for a significant increase in the frequency of conjunction events and possible impacts to NASA’s science and human spaceflight missions."
Making their worries about SpaceX clear, they added that SpaceX’s Gen2 expansion "would more than double the number of tracked objects in orbit and increase the number of objects below 600 km over five-fold".
Jeff Bezos' Amazon, which has also said it will spend $10 billion on 3,236 similar satellites in its Project Kuiper program, has criticised SpaceX's plans in a separate email to the FCC.
The online shopping giant said: "At least hundreds – and potentially more than ten thousand – SpaceX satellites could operate at the same altitudes as the Kuiper System."
It also warned "that the effect of this orbital overlap would be a dramatic increase in risks and other burdens on the Kuiper System" and asked the FCC to impose "reasonable conditions".
Elon Musk's Starlink was in the wars last week when a space storm on Friday reportedly stopped around 40 of the satellites from reaching their intended orbit destination.
The company said that "up to 40 of the satellites will reenter or already have reentered the Earth's atmosphere", rendering them and last week's launch pointless.
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