WASHINGTON – Radio astronomers said that OneWeb had not noticed their concerns about interference until recently, but it is not too late to avoid spectrum conflicts. According to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which operates radio telescopes in the United States and its territories,
OneWeb has resumed negotiations about possible interference with its planned giant constellation after negotiations were deadlocked three years ago.
The Observatory raised this issue with the Federal Communications Commission, stating that OneWeb should not talk about starting operations because the company did not follow the committee’s rules to coordinate the spectrum it wants to use first. Astronomers conduct investigations.
“The particular problem with OneWeb and its current plan is that they need an operating agreement that they did not seek,” NRAO director Tony Beasley told SpaceNews in an interview. Beasley said that
FCC regulations require OneWeb and other Kuband constellations to coordinate with the observatory before they begin service in the United States. NRAO seeks to protect telescopes that make observations in the 10.6 to 10.7 GHz band, including the Very Large Array Telescope in New Mexico, the Very Long Baseline Array with 10 sites in the United States, and the Green Shore Telescope in West Virginia, operated by sister organizations. Beasley said the resumption of the
OneWeb dialogue appears to be related to a letter sent by NRAO to the FCC on Aug. 2. OneWeb spokespersons Katie Dowd and Christopher Torres did not respond to a request for comment on Aug. 21 about the company’s failed discussions with the observatory.
In December, OneWeb plans to begin launching Soyuz every month to deploy an initial constellation of 650 broadband satellites by the end of 2021. The company opened a factory in Florida in July and plans to build the constellation and space through a joint venture with European manufacturer Airbus Defense.
Beasley said that while the OneWeb constellation is already in progress, the observatory believes it is not too late to avoid interference between the constellation’s broadband services and radio astronomy research.
“It’s not like they released it. If you don’t meet the requirements, the problem will always exist,” he said. “Of course they can take some form to minimize the impact on us, and they are obliged to do so. It would be better if it happened earlier, but it is not too late to discuss design changes to your system to minimize the impact on radio astronomy.
OneWeb is not the only large constellation company that has caused panic among astronomers. Optical telescope operators are concerned about SpaceX’s Starlink satellites because they shine in the night sky after SpaceX launched 60 satellites in May. Up to 12,000 are planned to be launched. The satellite’s
SpaceX stated that it is seeking to reduce the albedo of future satellites to reduce the sunlight reflected by them.
SpaceX, OneWeb and Canadian startup Kepler Communications plan to use Kuband spectrum for their constellations.
Beasley said that SpaceX has caused The attention of optical astronomers has not attracted the attention of radio astronomers.
“SpaceX has set an example of responsibility and strives to listen and address issues that arise,” said Beasley. “Give them full marks.”Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link
Beasley said that NRAO and SpaceX reached an agreement on spectrum earlier this year. He said he had discussions with OneWeb for the first time since 2016. He said the topics include the design of the OneWeb satellite, on which OneWeb plans to place ground stations related to the radio astronomy observatory, and the constellation’s overall impact on radio astronomy.
Kepler spokeswoman Victoria Alberto declined to comment on the company’s coordination with radio astronomers. Kepler has two prototypes in orbit for the Kuband constellation with up to 140 satellites.
OneWeb issued a statement on the evening of August 26:
“OneWeb attaches great importance to coordinated and responsible space, which is why we recently contacted the astronomy community when we were worried about light pollution after the launch of SpaceX. As early as 2016, we were in Considering the problem of radio frequency interference, after meeting with NRAO and its European counterparts [Radio Astronomy Frequency Committee], we designed special filters for our satellites to protect astronomy. These filters are located on each of our satellites , So it will not be interfered by satellites.
“As they themselves told them, our coordination with NSF and NRAO is proceeding as planned, and we will reach the agreement long before commercial services begin. This coordination is to ensure that OneWeb, which may be located near the radio astronomy site The earth station is not disturbed”.