Viasat satellite operator has asked the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to suspend the launch of Starlink satellites. The company also went to court demanding a more thorough environmental review of the satellites after authorities approved an increase in the number of them in low Earth orbit.
By now, Elon Musk's company has already launched more than 1,700 satellites into orbit and has permission to launch thousands of satellites more. In court, Viasat said the FCC had to assess the impact of satellites on the atmosphere before approving SpaceX's request to more than double their number in low-earth orbit.
Initially, the commission approved the placement of 4,409 Starlink satellites in space, of which 2,825 would be in orbit from 1,100 to 1,300 km from Earth, and another 1,584 would be at a distance of 550 km.
The company claims that the FCC has not foreseen the harm that the growing number of Starlink satellites will cause to the environment. Viasat believes that the current legislation requires considering possible harm, including how collapsing satellites can affect the atmosphere and create orbital debris. Astronomers have also expressed concern, saying the sheer numbers of Starlink satellites are interfering with observations.