spacerfirstclass t1_jayq0rd wrote

> “These big low-orbit internet constellations have come from nowhere in 2019, to dominating the space environment in 2023,” says McDowell

It didn't come from nowhere though, Elon Musk unveiled the constellation that would eventually become Starlink Gen1 on Jan 2015, so it took them 8 years to get to where they're today. It's just in the first 4 years they didn't launch anything since they had to finish the design and the production line, also mature Falcon 9 reusability, in order to put them into a position to launch these satellites quickly.

> Even the Hubble Space Telescope, which orbits more than 500 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, is vulnerable to these satellite streaks, as well as those from other satellite constellations.

The article neglect to mention that this is because Hubble's orbit has decayed because it's no longer being regularly boosted by Shuttle, now it's below the main shell of Starlink which caused the problem. SpaceX and NASA is already looking at plans to reboost Hubble using Crew Dragon which would solve this problem.

> “Starlink is the densest patch of space that has ever existed,” Lawler says. The satellites are constantly navigating out of each other’s way to avoid collisions

This is incorrect, while in operational orbit Starlink satellites are positioned in such a way so that they avoid each other naturally, no active collision avoidance is necessary. The only time they need to do active collision avoidance is when they encounter space debris, dead satellites, or satellites without propulsion ability.

> “If there is some kind of collision [between Starlinks], some kind of mishap, it could immediately affect human lives,” Lawler says.

This is overly dramatic, Russia blew up a satellite between ISS orbit and Starlink orbit, it didn't hurt anybody in orbit or on the ground, nor did it degrade any space based services such as GPS. It did create a lot of work for people who's job is to steering satellites and space station around debris. So yes in a way it did affect human lives in that it caused tons of overtime and postponed vacations, but that's about it.