SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 launch vehicle tonight with 60 satellites on board. And astronomers again voiced concerns.
SpaceX today, at 17:56 Moscow time, successfully launched the reusable Falcon 9 rocket with the second batch of 60 Starlink satellites on board, which is designed to provide broadband and low-cost Internet to literally the entire Earth. The launch was carried out from the cosmodrome at Cape Canaveral, CNN reports.
- SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 11, 2019
The first batch of satellites was launched in May this year. Immediately after that, reports began to appear that the devices launched into space shine extremely brightly, and experts expressed fears that Starlink would interfere with observations and the operation of other devices.
As reported in an article published on Space.com, Harvard Smithsonian astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said: "The first few nights it was like God knows what." Then the representatives of SpaceX and, in particular, the head of the company Elon Musk, assured astronomers that as soon as the satellites take their place in low earth orbit, they will not "disguise themselves as stars." In addition, they promised that a special camouflage coating will be applied to the satellites of subsequent parties, which will not allow them to reflect the rays of light and heat so much.
Scientists were eager to confirm these words and in the meantime decided to analyze and compare the brightness of satellites and stars. Against the backdrop of the launch of the next batch of Starlink, McDowell once again raised an issue of concern to many.
“Representatives of SpaceX have not yet provided any details on exactly how they plan to change the coverage and arrangement of Starlink satellites, and did not say how much these measures will reduce the reflectivity of the probes. When all 30 thousand probes are launched into orbit, their glow will constantly interfere with observations,”the astrophysicist assures.
According to McDowell, observations have already proven that Starlink satellites are some of the brightest objects in the sky. Moreover, the second batch of satellites does not have any special camouflage cover, and now the vehicles, the orbit of which is half that of the launch batch, will shine brightly and interfere with astronomical observations, he added.
In any case, astronomers are only awaiting the final results of the first brightness analysis of Starlink satellites. And if they turn out to be depressing, then scientists intend to get more intelligible explanations from SpaceX.