Three months after Elon Musk’s SpaceX Corp. sent its first set of satellites into orbit, other operators are already veering to keep their own spacecraft out of harm’s way.
The European Space Agency tweeted that it moved it’s Earth observation satellite Aeolus to avoid a possible crash with one of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. The Musk-backed company launched its first 60 satellites in May, getting a running start on the company of the other billionaire funding space exploration, Jeff Bezos.
For the first time ever, ESA has performed a ‘collision avoidance manoeuvre’ to protect one of its satellites from colliding with a ‘mega constellation’#SpaceTraffic pic.twitter.com/kmXvAgpj1U— ESA Operations (@esaoperations) September 2, 2019
The ESA said this is the first time it’s performed a maneuver to avoid a collision and protect its satellites, but they believe this will become so common that using a manual process will be impossible. The agency said in a tweet they are preparing artificial intelligence to automate avoidance maneuvers.