OneWeb and SpaceX, two powers in the internet satellite industry, faced a dangerous meeting last weekend that was out of this world, as two satellites from each company approached each other and were within 190 feet of each other. In orbit, triggering numerous warnings from the US Space Forces' 18th Space Control Squadron.
The close contact was due to the recent launch of OneWeb on March 30, which sent 36 satellites into orbit and had to pass through satellites from the constellation Starlinks to reach its target orbit.
This is the first known collision avoidance event since tech companies began filling space with Internet transmitters, and some suggest it won't be the last.
The impending event was identified by Space Force, which alerted OneWeb as soon as the red alerts flowed, and the US government agency confirmed that the probability of the two satellites colliding is 1.3%, and if the collision occurred, it would have added hundreds of other pieces of space waste to orbit.
Millions of pieces of debris are scattered in space and can travel at the speed of a fast bullet, which can destroy satellites, telescopes, and spacecraft.
Experts have suggested ways to limit the number of satellites in orbit, but none of them have been transformed into reality yet, and when SpaceX notified OneWeb about its satellite creep toward Starlink, the company quickly sent an email to SpaceX's Starlink in hopes of moving the satellites at some distance. Safe from each other.
SpaceX disrupted its AI collision avoidance system, allowing OneWeb to steer its satellite out of the way.