Opinion

Can you imagine 50,000 or so satellites being launched to beam 5G and Wi-Fi to all corners of the earth. It sounds like some sort of horror movie theme, but is soon to become a reality?

Leading the way is Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s  aggressive plan to deploy  42,000 Starlink satellites. This will bring SpaceX almost to the threshold for being able to beam 5G from the satellites to Earth.
SpaceX has plans to launch around 120 every month in 2020.

An illustration of SpaceX’s constellation of thousands of Starlink satellites to provide global, high-speed, low-latency internet. (Mark Handley/University College/London)

The latest deployment of satellites was on March 18, 2020, as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 new Starlink satellites soared into space, making the total so far almost 400 internet satellites.

According to ChildrensDefense.org, no evaluation from any national or international agency has been carried out to evaluate, reduce, prevent, or publicize the environmental impact of the satellites’ emissions.

ChildrensDefense states, “The FCC has never assessed the impact of radiation emissions from 50,000 satellites or any other existing and potential adverse environmental effects. The likely reason is that the FCC interprets its obligations as only requiring assessment of terrestrial activities and devices due to legal language specifying that its focus on structures defined as a “pole, tower, base station, or other building”—with no explicit mention of satellites.”

In March 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved SpaceX’s ground antenna application. This means an infrastructure of 1 million antennas will be placed around the planet to connect the thousands of satellites that have already started their journey into space.
With the electromagnetic beams that emit radio frequency (RF) and microwave radiation flooding the earth from the satellites, the antennas, also emitting radiation—will be placed close to humans—even in homes.

ChildrensDefense goes on to explain, “As if radiation from tens of thousands of satellites were not concerning enough, the FCC’s blanket license for up to a million ground transmitters allows SpaceX Services (a SpaceX subsidiary) to install terminals that will use “advanced beamforming and steerable antenna technology” to wirelessly connect end-users (human and machine) on the ground with the orbiting satellites.

These “consumer-facing device[s]” could place radiation-emitting terminals directly in homes. Elon Musk summarizes the two-step installation of the ground antenna as “point at sky [and] plugin.”

The scientific community has become concerned about the harm to humans 5G technology poses and presented a large body of scientific evidence to back up their claims. In 2018, over 200 scientists submitted the 5G Appeal to the United Nations, calling for a moratorium on 5G.

In 2018, more than 200 scientists and doctors cited the large body of scientific evidence of harm when they submitted the 5G Appeal to the United Nations.

The experts stated that radio frequency electromagnetic fields have not only been “proven to be harmful for humans and the environment” but “[d]amage goes well beyond the human race,” with “growing evidence of harmful effects to both plants and animals.” In discussing the “serious hazard to public health” that 5G infrastructure on- and off-planet represents, the Appeal’s authors argued, “Inaction is a cost to society and is not an option anymore.”

Also, an International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space warning of the possible effects the satellites could have on the earth’s electrical circuit has to date collected 231,915 signatures from 214 countries and territories.

Falcon 9 B1046 lifting off from Vandenberg in November 2018. (CC0 1.0)

All living things are dependent on the earth’s electrical circuit for survival.

SpaceX isn’t the only company fighting for a slice of the pie, others such as Amazon have plans to launch a total of 3,236 satellites.

The Los Angeles Times has noted that Elon Musk has built his “empire” with billions in U.S. government—that is, taxpayer—subsidies. He is now asking for an additional $16 billion in government subsidies.

With the economic woes facing America due to the pandemic, one positive to come out of all this is he may not get what he wants.