Technology 2 min read

SpaceX Launches 3rd Batch of Starlink Satellites Amid Controversies

Abstract 3D rendering of Starlink satellites | CG Alex / Shutterstock.com

Abstract 3D rendering of Starlink satellites | CG Alex / Shutterstock.com

SpaceX has just released the 3rd batch of its Starlink satellites into Earth orbit and astronomers are not really too happy about it.

On Monday, SpaceX launched the third batch of 60 Starlink satellites into Earth orbit.

The cluster of satellites separated from a Falcon 9 rocket at about 10:19 PM ET (09:19 PM CT). That’s one hour after it launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. An onboard camera was present to film the deployment of the Starlink satellites.

At the moment, SpaceX’s Starlink network is just under 180. However, the number would eventually reach as much as 42,000, forming a global broadband internet system.

SpaceX hopes to control a massive share of the future internet with its current space network. Elon Musk reportedly wants about three to five percent of the global internet market – valued at $30 billion a year.

Unsurprisingly, the crowded skies have raised concerns among astronomers.

How the Starlink Satellites Affect Astronomy

Astronomers say that the bright metallic satellites could degrade the night view. In other words, the reflectivity of the Starlink satellites could interfere with both optical and radio astronomy.

However, SpaceX argues that it has taken significant steps in reducing the satellite’s reflectivity. What’s more, the tech company says it is currently testing an experimental darkening method on one of the satellites.

Be that as it may, a space analyst, Laura Forczyk, points out that the effectiveness of the new technique is still in doubt.

In a statement to the press, Forczyk said:

“The real test will be the days following launch when the smallsats are close together and in a lower altitude before ascending to their final orbit. Astronomers and stargazers will be able to compare the brightness of this current batch of smallsats compared to previous versions.”

There’s also the issue of creating space debris.

More Satellites in Space Equals More Space Junks?

With so many expensive satellites floating in space, the possibility of a collision increases significantly. And this could lead to thousands of pieces of space junks, experts argue.

However, SpaceX says that it has a plan for that too.

The Starlink satellites come with propulsion systems to remove them out of orbit at the end of their life-cycles. If the system fails, the spacecraft will simply burn up naturally in the atmosphere in less than five years.

Read More: SpaceX’s Prototype Starship Bursts During a Ground Test

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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