Viasat urges FCC to initiate environmental review of second-gen Starlink network

Starlink rival Viasat says there is enough evidence to initiate an environmental review of SpaceX’s plans to launch nearly 30,000 of their second-generation Starlink satellites into orbit.

On May 2 the satellite internet company urged the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to initiate the review over concerns the expanded network of satellites would cause too much light pollution.

Viasat’s previous attempts at initiating an environmental review have been unsuccessful, but the company says there is enough evidence from astronomers and independent experts for the FCC to take a second look.

“Viasat has further established that this light pollution would have significant aesthetic, scientific, social and cultural, and health effects on the human environment on Earth,” Viasat says in the filing (via SpaceNews)

SpaceX has already announced they are working with astronomers to reduce the amount of light pollution by adding visors to their satellites. Viasat says this has “not fully mitigated” the issue, citing research that they would continue to disrupt telescopes and near-Earth asteroid detection.

“There can be little doubt that the proposed Starlink expansion is one that ‘may have a significant environmental impact,’ requiring further environmental review under NEPA and Section 1.1307 of the Commission’s rules,” Viasat said.

SpaceX has already deployed over 2,000 of their Starlink satellites into orbit at an altitude of about 550km (341 miles).

The aerospace company is seeking approval to launch their second-generation satellites onboard Starship at altitudes as low as 340km, which it says will improve network performance.

SpaceX filing reveals next generation Starlink satellites that will launch onboard Starship

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