Title: Unintended Consequences of Mega-Satellite Constellations on Observational Astronomy
Speaker: Clyde Springen
Abstract: Very large collections of low Earth orbit (LEO) communications and other satellites are currently being launched and likely growing to number in the 10s of thousands. Space X’s Star Link, One Web, and Amazon’s Project Kuiper are examples of these constellation developers. This fact is likely to bring benefits to many people who need access to internet communications across the globe for affordable prices. But there are profound negative side effects on other activities including aesthetic and observational ground-based astronomy and others who appreciate and value the starry sky. These issues have led to active efforts both from the professional astronomical and satellite operator communities to cooperatively address the problems associated with these systems.
This talk will review some of the main issues confronting astronomy and other groups and work that has been done so far in characterizing and mitigating the adverse effects of these constellations. In particular, some of the results of two workshops held by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and American Astronomical Society (AAS) in 2020/21 – SATCON1 and SATCON2 will be reviewed.
Bio: Clyde Springen is a retired software, electrical, and systems engineer and educator who spent the majority of his career in aerospace in the defense and space industries. This included positions at Texas Instruments, Lockheed Missiles and Space, Northrup Grumman, and TEXTRON. In addition to full-time industry work, he also taught transferable college credit courses in Solar System and Stellar Astronomy and Introduction to Engineering and Circuits courses as an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy and Engineering at Austin Community College. Clyde is a life member of the IEEE and serves as secretary to the life members group in Austin.
Date & Time: August 17, 6pm