from the has-this-been-thought-through? dept.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Skywatchers in Spain recording meteors being transformed into brilliant streaks of light by atmospheric compression are a bit miffed – as their view was rudely interrupted by a slew of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites.
Below is a short clip of what it looked like above La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands last week. The meteor shower known as Alpha Monocerotids crisscrossed the sky, though it becomes hard to spot them once the satellites come flooding in.
SpaceX's table-sized Starlink birds, which sport reflective solar panels, are closer and brighter as they zip across the camera’s line of sight like machine gun bullets.
Starlink satellites during a meteor shower on Nov. 22. pic.twitter.com/wJVk1qu49E
— Patrick Treuthardt, Ph.D. (@PTreuthardt)
Denis Vida, a geophysics PhD student at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, who wrote the code to generate the footage above captured from one of the Global Meteor Network’s cameras, said the obstruction happens every day.
“Note that this was not a one time occurrence,” he told The Register. “We see this every day before dawn with about half the cameras in our network. During that time we effectively lose about half our field of view because of this.
[...] “These satellites will most definitely interfere with important astronomical observations which can have implications on predicting future meteor shower outburst. Accurate meteor shower predictions are essential for understanding the hazard they pose to spacecraft – do you see the irony? – and astronauts in orbit.
[UPDATE (20200107_023514 UTC): Launch went off smoothly and on time. Booster landed safely on the drone ship. Second stage is in proper orbit and currently in coast phase leading up to satellite deployment.]
In 2019 SpaceX launched two batches of 60 Starlink satellites—one experimental, and the second operational. On Monday, the company plans to add 60 more satellites with a nighttime launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
If all goes to plan, this mission will be just the first of as many as 20 Starlink launches this year as SpaceX builds up a constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit to provide global Internet service. SpaceX may begin to offer "bumpy" service by the middle of this year to some consumers.
Following this next launch, scheduled for 9:19pm ET Monday (02:19 UTC Tuesday), SpaceX will have a constellation of nearly 180 satellites in low-Earth orbit, each weighing a little more than 220kg. This will make the company simultaneously the world's largest private satellite operator (eclipsing Planet Labs), while also being the most active private launch company.
[...] Monday night's launch attempt will occur on a Falcon 9 first stage that has flown three times previously, in September 2018 (Telstar 18 VANTAGE), January 2019 (Iridium-8), and May 2019 (the first experimental Starlink mission). After launching, the first stage will land on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Another vessel, "Ms. Tree," will attempt to recover a payload fairing half. The Starlink satellites themselves will deploy at 61 minutes into the mission, at an altitude of 290km.
A webcast of the mission should begin about 15 minutes prior to launch.
Link to the YouTube webcast.
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