1/ After reflecting on this decision overnight, a few thoughts on the broader public policy questions wrapped up in it (thread) https://twitter.com/brianweeden/status/1387179874905886722
2/ First, I think it's important to reiterate how much impact Starlink and the other constellations can be for improving access to broadband. This is a global problem that affects billions
3/ The data so far show Starlink is benefiting many people who can't access good broadband otherwise: https://www.businessinsider.com/starlink-internet-satellite-public-beta-speed-spacex-mbps-elon-musk-2020-11
SpaceX's Starlink internet public beta is giving some users blistering download speeds of more than...
People in SpaceX's Starlink beta are uploading screenshots of their speed tests — and some are faster than 95% of US connections.https://www.businessinsider.com/starlink-internet-satellite-public-beta-speed-spacex-mbps-elon-musk-2020-11
4/ But then there's also the potential downsides to these constellations (space congestion/collisions, RF interference, light pollution), which are a mix of public & private goods that could be impacted
5/ The problem is a classic one in public policy. We have more data & specific examples of who and how the service will BENEFIT than we do of who and how it will HURT
6/ In those situations, the default policy response is often to allow it to go ahead so we can reap the benefits and deal with the negative impacts/externalities later
7/ So I don't think @FccSpace has any blame. They ran an open and inclusive process, listened to hundreds of comments from a wide range of sources, and made a decision.
8/ The real issue is the lack of science done by the boarder US government over the last decade that could have helped inform this decision. No agency had remit to study this issue, particularly those negative implications
9/ The only entity that did any sort of solid studies was @esa https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0094576516300820 with some additional input from the IADC https://www.iadc-home.org/documents_public/file_down/id/4195
10/ This is a key problem that the US needs to fix, and there are several potential paths: expand scope of @NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office, give it to @CommerceinSpace, or to @FAANews, or a NGO, such as @AerospaceCorp 's new Space Safety Institute
11/ Ideally it would be part of a broader mission of Space Environmental Management that would include not only studying debris mitigation but also active debris removal
12/ Until then, the best we can do is to keep studying the problem and hope that the benefits will indeed outweigh the costs /fin