Faizel Patel – 07/10/2020
There are concerns that Starlink, the “megaconstellation” of hundreds of Internet satellites launched by SpaceX, has been causing headaches for astronomers by outshining celestial objects.
Starlink is the initiative of South African born and Space X founder Elon Musk’s adventures to establish a global satellite network to provide telecommunications infrastructure across the planet.
According to Scientific American, ever since the first 60 Starlink satellites were launched in May 2019, 655 more have been placed in orbit, affecting a number of astronomical observations.
Head of strategy and business system at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (Sarao) says there mitigating effort underway to find a solution to the problem faced by astronomers.
“We had some very encouraging statements and communications from the various operators who have indicated a willingness to work with the atronomy community. From the optical side, there’s been some proposals for examples painting of satellites black so they don’t reflect as much light on to our telescopes. From the radio side, there has historically been various mitigation measures that have looked at filtering of the transmissions or in fact steering the beams of the satellite.”
SpaceX is hoping to eventually put 12,000 Starlink satellites in the sky, and last year it filed for permission to put up 30,000 more.
Listen to the interview with Dr. Adrian Tiplady