SpaceX's Starlink project is gradually coming to fruition. On January 20, 2021, Elon Musk's space company began launching 60 new satellites. These machines will close the ranks of the Starlink constellation, which will ultimately provide a high-speed Internet connection to remote areas of the globe.
This mission went well despite the fact that it was postponed for a few days. As revealed by the Daily Mail , the launch of these new satellites should have taken place on January 18, 2021. However, SpaceX had to postpone it due to bad weather conditions.
This is the 17th fleet of Starlink satellites to be placed into orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
The Starlink constellation is no longer far from the 1,000 satellites
The launch of these new satellites took place at the Kennedy Space Center. The number of satellites in the Starlink constellation now stands at nearly 950. As a reminder, this project aims to provide a connection with a latency of less than 20 ms.
However, it is not intended to compete with telecommunications operators already in place. Elon Musk stressed that Starlink will take "the part that operators don't want, as we plan to reach the hardest to serve customers around the world." "However, it is clear that this project does not unanimous.
Astronomers warn us
The Starlink project got astronomers reacting . According to them, there are risks that SpaceX's satellites will jeopardize future space research. Their presence would only clutter up the space. What is more, these devices would generate light pollution which would hamper their observations.
Their concern is not unfounded. Ultimately, Elon Musk wants to place 42,000 satellites in low orbit.
“Their contribution to the luminosity of the sky is not negligible for the observations of experts, but it depends on their altitude and the reflectivity of their surface,” said astronomer Stefano Gallozzi.
Following these statements, SpaceX has coated some of these satellites in black as part of the DarkSat project. The objective of the space company is to reduce the brightness of these devices. Jeremy Tregloan-Reed, of Antofagasta University, said it was not “a victory, but a step in the right direction. "