Elon Musk's 'bright' Starlink satellite train sparks regulation debate

A frame from a live video feed shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket delivering a stack of Starlink satellites into orbitSpace X


  • Elon Musk’s Starlink project’s ‘satellite train’ is spotted in the skies all over the world.
  • Those same shiny lights are also causing trouble for Musk as astronomers allege that the satellites are blocking out the view of outer space.
  • Musk responded on Twitter saying that Starlink will have "0% impact on advancement in astronomy".
  • The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the Green Bank Observatory (GRO) have been working in collaboration with SpaceX to analyse the potential impact of the Starlink satellite constellation.
People around the world have been gearing up to watch Space X’s Starlinksatellite train’ whip across the sky.

Astronomers, on the other hand, are rallying against Elon Musk’s broadband enterprise launched on May 24, for beaming out lights that are blocking the rest of the cosmos.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory ( NRAO) and the Green Bank Observatory (GRO) have been working in collaboration with SpaceX to jointly analyse the potential impact of the Starlink satellite constellation.



Musk lashed back on Twitter saying that the satellite will have "0% impact on advancement in astronomy" and that "telescopes should be moved into space anyway".


He went on to assure that SpaceX could tweak the solar reflection if a critical astronomical experiment is taking place.


As long as the satellites are helping billions of people who live in connectivity starved areas get internet, "it’s worth it" in his opinion.



It’s bigger than Starlink

Right now the fuss is over 60 satellites that Musk launched for Starlink — a project that is set to grow to 12,000 satellites.



The problem of satellites blocking out the view of telescopes from Earth, exists beyond Musk’s Starlink satellite constellation. A bunch of other companies including Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin, have plans to launch their own satellite constellations out into space.

The NRAO has stated that the guidelines resulting from discussions with SpaceX can be further be used on other satellite constellations as well.

The observations also overlooking proposals on exclusion zones and other mitigations for SpaceX in order to determine the parameters of satellite constellations.

Bill Keel, an astronomer at the University of Alabama, told AFP that it’s not just optical astronomers that are concerned but radio astronomers as well — like the group of researchers who captured the first ever image of a black hole.

See also:
Here’s how you can spot Musk’s Starlink satellite train in the sky where you live

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have more in common than just being billionaires

India’s apex space agency is following Elon Musk's idea — and taking it a step forward
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