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As of 8th February 2020, SpaceX has launched 242 Starlink satellites.

To what extent will SpaceX's launch of its Starlink satellites affect satellite communications for other satellites?

How much (if at all) will they interfere with the working of other satellites? I mean, is it possible for its signals to collide with that of other working satellites?

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you interested only in space traffic of "signals" or also other kind of traffic (i.e. physical congestion of in-orbit space) or other interferences with the working of other satellites? $\endgroup$
    – BlueCoder
    Feb 11 '20 at 11:36
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    $\begingroup$ As you might imagine, all satellites are subject to severe review before deployment; one topic is noninterference with other satellites , ground stations, etc. $\endgroup$ Feb 11 '20 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ @BlueCoder both as a matter of fact. $\endgroup$
    – user33891
    Feb 13 '20 at 13:52
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How much (if at all) will they interfere with the working of other satellites?

Not noticeably.

I mean, is it possible for its signals to collide with that of other working satellites?

No, radio signals can't collide with each other. Radio waves are made of photons, same as visible light, just at a different frequency. Take two flashlights into a dark room, and shine them so that their beams cross. There's no interference, the two beams strike the wall with the same intensity that they would have had if the other flashlight wasn't there.

The only way these satellites could interfere with another is if they happened to line up between a satellite and a ground station, such that the ground station's antenna was picking up both satellites. But the fact is that satellites move so fast that it would be in an out of the field of view of the antenna in milliseconds, if not less. The end result is that the antenna picks up a tiny burst of radio noise from the other satellite, and since that kind of thing happens all the time anyway, the ground equipment could just correct for it without even knowing another satellite was the cause.

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    $\begingroup$ I took the OP's "collide" as a layperson's description of interference at the receiver. $\endgroup$ Feb 12 '20 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft Yeah, that's certainly one possible interpretation. I included that last paragraph to try and address that. $\endgroup$ Feb 12 '20 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft yes that's what I meant. Thank you for your answer. $\endgroup$
    – user33891
    Feb 13 '20 at 13:55

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