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Why would a Kessler cascade be so devastating? Most of our comsats and all our GPS satellites are above LEO.

It would completely fuck up the viability of all earth-sciences and imagery satellites (Hello google earth, google maps, bing maps, etc) which mostly orbit as low as reasonably possible and in 90 degree inclined polar orbits.

It would also kill Iridium (either the current generation of satellites, or the next generation which will be in generally the same orbital configuration) because it depends on low earth orbit, highly inclined polar orbit satellites. Iridium is incredibly important to maritime users and aircraft users, in addition to its massive US DoD use.

What would you say the probability of something going wrong and leading to Kessler syndrome is, if we have 4k more (or even 10-20k more) satellites?

I'm sure SpaceX isn't the only player thinking of adding a lot of cheap satellites in orbit

But would it prevent launching any more?

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