On Sunday, more Starlink satellites from SpaceX went into orbit. 53 new units will join the growing “constellation” of communication satellites. The project, however, causes a lot of controversy.
The mission took off at 10.20am local time on Sunday (4.20pm Polish time) from the Space Center. John Fitzgerald Kennedy at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The satellites were launched into the near-Earth space aboard the Falcon 9 rocket.
2.6 thousand points in the sky
Despite the changing weather conditions, the start went smoothly. During the mission, the first part of the Falcon 9 rocket was used, for which it was the 13th flight. After disconnecting from the ascending rocket, the component safely landed on a special ship, and after refreshing it will be ready for further missions.
There were 53 Starlink satellites on board. This year, SpaceX has launched a record number of units into orbit, and the company’s plans are for further launches. According to astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who has been tracking the development of the Starlink project, more than 2,600 satellites are currently orbiting the Earth.
A problem for sky photographers
Although Starlink satellites are used by users all over the world, they are controversial among astronomers and astrophotographers. Their smooth, reflective surface makes it difficult to observe many less distinct objects. The expanding “constellation” of satellites appears more and more frequently in images of the night sky.
Elon Musk’s company has repeatedly tried to solve the problem of excessive light reflection, so far to no avail. SpaceX continues to develop the Starlink project, launching the service in more regions and adding the ability to use the modem on ships.
SpaceX, EarthSky, News13 Florida
Main photo source: ENEX / SpaceX