The U.S. National Science Foundation commissioned a study by the independent science advisory group JASON to assess the impact of current and planned large satellite constellations on astronomical observations in 2020. The charge for JASON was to:
- Understand the types and numbers of spacecraft planned for launch in the next decade.
- Understand the current regulatory process for commercial launches to Low Earth Orbit, both in the U.S and internationally.
- Characterize the types of interference that spacecraft could have on observations of multiple types, specifically in the optical and infrared wavelength regimes.
- Gather and describe the range of observations currently being made and foreseen for the future.
- Suggest any additional data that should be gathered to better understand the scope of the problem for the future.
NSF commissioned the report as a resource for all stakeholders. The JASON group had broad discretion in constructing its report and identifying relevant issues. The report sets benchmarks and the foundation for discussing the impacts on astronomy at various wavelengths.
NSF is reviewing the report’s findings and recommendations and intends to continue to work with stakeholders on the development of mutual solutions.
Please review the full PDF report.