The National Science Foundation and SpaceX have signed a new coordination agreement to mitigate the potential impact of the company’s Starlink satellite constellation on ground-based radio, infrared and optical astronomy facilities operating between the 10.6 and 10.7 GHz band.
Under the agreement, SpaceX committed to examining the impact of astronomical facility lasers on satellites, coordinating with impacted U.S. radio astronomy assets and working with NSF’s office of polar programs to mitigate the impact of its satellite constellation on remote geographical radio astronomy sites in polar regions, NSF said Tuesday.
The company also looks to addressing the recommendations from the American Astronomical Society’s SATCON workshops, NSF’s NOIRLab and the International Astronomical Union’s Dark and Quiet Skies best practices guidance.
“We are setting the stage for a successful partnership between commercial and public endeavors that allows important science research to flourish alongside satellite communication,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan.
In 2019, SpaceX and NSF signed a coordination agreement to ensure that the company’s Starlink network meets international protection standards for the 10.6-10.7 GHz radio astronomy band in accordance with the conditions of the Generation 1 Federal Communications Commission license.