The head of the European Space Agency (ESA) warned that governments are allowing tech billionaire Musk to “set his own rules” in space.
European Space Agency (ESA) CEO Josef Aschbacher issued a warning in an interview with the Financial Times. He said that the companies of the American billionaire Elon Musk could take a dominant position in the developing space economy, in which the businessman is already dictating his own rules.
Joseph Ashbacher, who took over as CEO of ESA in March, commented to the Financial Times urging European leaders to stop allowing Elon Musk to dominate the space economy. Europe’s willingness to help Musk expand his satellite Internet service, Starlink, could hurt competitors in the region, he said.
“Space will be much more limited [in terms of] frequencies and orbital spacing,” Ashbakher confirmed in an interview with the Financial Times. “The governments of Europe collectively need to have a stake in this and give European providers an equal opportunity.”
Now, according to The Independent, after the next launch of Starlink on December 2, more than a third of all satellites in Earth’s orbit were under the control of Elon Musk’s company. Germany previously applied to the International Telecommunication Union to allow Starlink to launch about 40,000 satellites. The US government has already authorized Musk to launch 30,000 satellites. He also plans to apply for a license in India.
“There is one person who owns half of the world’s active satellites. De facto, he sets the rules. The rest of the world, including Europe, is not responding quickly enough, ”Ashbakher warned.
Financial Times reporters note that after sending the last batch of Starlink satellites, SpaceX has set a personal record for successfully launching rockets in one year – just 27 rockets. Elon Musk’s company controls 37% (1,753 satellites out of 4,841) of the total number of active satellites in orbit. Authors refer to CelesTrak data.
Starlink is now competing with OneWeb, a company backed by the UK government, in a project to create a mega-constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit to improve broadband services. Amazon Project Kupier and the Chinese government also have plans to launch satellites in orbit close to Earth.