Elon Musk could control outer space and ESA wants to prevent it

The director of the European Space Agency (ESA, for its acronym in English) urged the leaders of the continent to stop facilitating the tycoon’s ambition to dominate the space economy and there is a fear that Elon Musk could control outer space.

Josef Aschbacher, the new director general of ESA, showed that the lack of coordinated action means that the billionaire “makes the rules” on his own.

“With Europe’s willingness to help the rapid expansion of Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service, it runs the risk of hampering companies in the region in tapping into the potential of the commercial space,” said Josef Aschbacher. .

Elon Musk could control outer space

Elon Musk is willing to spend 30 billion to expand Starlink. There is not only the fear that Elon Musk could control outer space, but the excess of satellites in orbit.

The new director general of ESA has a fear, that Elon Musk could control outer space, for the same reason he has said that “Space will be much more restrictive (in terms of) frequencies and orbital bands,” he said.

Adding that “The governments of Europe must have a collective interest in … giving European suppliers the same opportunities to play in a fair market ”.

Germany asked the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which coordinates the use of wireless frequencies for data transport, to grant Starlink spectrum for around 40,000 satellites. While Musk has already obtained the approval of more than 30 thousand satellites through US regulators.

In early 2021, the mogul said his private rocket company, is willing to spend up to $ 30 billion to expand Starlink. Along those lines, Aschbacher said Starlink is already so big that it’s difficult for regulators or rivals to catch up.

Elon Musk could control outer space and it’s a fear: “One person owns half of the world’s active satellites. That is quite surprising. De facto, you are making the rules. The rest of the world, including Europe, is not responding quickly enough, ”said Josef Aschbacher.

Constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit

There is not only the fear that Elon Musk could control outer space, but the excess of satellites in orbit.

Starlink and OneWeb, backed by the UK government, are leading a race to create mega-constellations of hundreds and even thousands of low-Earth orbit satellites, or OTBs, to provide broadband to places that are difficult to access by cable.

If the Elon Musk already exists it could control outer space, there is also the concern of the increase in satellites, because the Chinese government and Amazon‘s Kuiper project plan to launch their own constellations in low orbit.

This is how a new generation of space companies, driven by lower launch costs and having cheaper satellites, also intends to provide commercial services from OTB.

The problem of the rush to take advantage of the potential of commercial space worries because there is no global system for managing space traffic in low orbit, a region of up to 2,000 kilometers above the Earth to which most of the new services are directed. commercial.

But Aschbacher is not the only one worried that Elon Musk could control outer space, Franz Fayot, Luxembourg’s economy minister has also pointed out that they need new rules to ensure a safe use of space, especially for space debris.

“There are people like Elon Musk, who launch constellations and satellites and launch Teslas into orbit. We need to establish common rules. Colonization, or doing things in a completely deregulated space, is a concern, “he said at the New Space conference in Luxembourg.

The European satellite industry is dominated by incumbents, who depend on a small number of expensive high-orbit satellites to provide services such as television signals. Meanwhile Elon Musk could control outer space with every satellite he sends into space.

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