SpaceX has successfully launched a new generation of Starlink satellites that are equipped with optical space lasers and technologies to reduce light pollution. This advancement will not only improve data transfer speeds but also minimize the impact of satellite visibility in the night sky.
The launch took place on September 25th when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried 21 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Center 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. These new satellites were added to the existing Starlink satellite internet constellation, and SpaceX announced that they have incorporated over 8,000 space lasers into their Starlink constellation.
The integration of optical space lasers allows these satellites to establish connections over long distances, expanding their coverage beyond the reach of ground stations. With improved pointing accuracy, each channel of data transfer can achieve rates of up to 100 Gbps. This enhancement empowers SpaceX to provide high-quality global coverage, catering even to remote maritime and aviation customers.
Moreover, the latest generation of Starlink satellites utilizes innovative technologies to address light pollution concerns. Special dielectric mirrors are installed on the satellites, reducing their visibility. Additionally, the surfaces of the satellite body and solar modules are designed to minimize light reflection. Black paint is used on the backside of the modules and parabolic antennas to prevent light leakage, while the front panel is coated with a dark red color to further mitigate visibility.
During certain stages of flight, such as satellite deployment and approaching their target orbit, the Starlink satellites may still be visible. SpaceX, however, is actively collaborating with astronomers to further improve the visibility reduction.
By deploying this new generation of Starlink satellites, SpaceX aims to not only enhance data transfer speeds but also minimize the impact of satellite visibility on night sky observations.