New generation of Starlink satellites above acceptable brightness threshold

(ORDO NEWS) — The problem of light pollution was not so acute until the first launch of 60 Starlink satellites in May 2019.

To date, SpaceX has launched several series of Starlink. More than 2,900 satellites have been deployed at breakneck speed, with 2,286 still in orbit and in operation.

SpaceX plans to put 12,000 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit, with a potential increase of 30,000 more.

A major concern in professional astronomy is the impact of satellites on current and upcoming sky surveys, such as the Vera S. Rubin telescope.

A recent article in Nature notes that the 1.5-meter Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) telescope sees Starlink bands in 18% of its deep sky images.

SpaceX has been trying to solve this problem with varying degrees of success. They tried to paint the satellites black, add visors, special stickers, turn them edge-on towards the sun during twilight.

VisorSat helped reduce the brightness of Starlink, but the new generation of satellites does not include this feature, as it will interfere with the new laser link between satellites.

Of course, light pollution is nothing new, and the problem predates Starlink. However, many astronomers have noticed that, despite all efforts to reduce clutter, Starlink trains are still very bright.

In addition, Starlink’s loss rate is quite high, with 218 satellites already returned, including most of Group 4-7, which fell victim to space weather shortly after launch in February 2022.

But that’s not all. OneWeb has already deployed 218 satellites for its own constellation. In late 2022/early 2023, the deployment of the Amazon Kuiper constellation will also begin. In addition, SpaceX recently purchased Internet-of-Things satellites from Swarm and signed up to use the 2Ghz band in the near future…

A recent report from the Black Hat Security conference in Las Vegas also warned users and SpaceX about the possibility of a Starlink hack, although the company is already stubbornly is working on a fix for this vulnerability.

Perhaps the US Department of Defense could lend a helping hand and reveal how the classified Lacrosse-5 satellite “disappears”. Or perhaps the AI ​​will simply find ways to identify and erase satellite bands in images.


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