A new sunshade, or visor, designed to reduce the brightness of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband Internet satellites will debut on the company’s next launch, a measure intended to alleviate astronomers’ concerns about impacts on observations through ground-based telescopes, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Monday.
Thirty years ago Friday, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched aboard the shuttle Discovery with a famously flawed mirror, the opening chapter in an improbable saga of redemption and scientific discovery that revolutionized humanity’s view of the cosmos with jaw-dropping images now familiar to millions.
After waiting more than a week for good weather, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday from Cape Canaveral with 60 more satellites for the company’s Starlink Internet network, continuing to build out a fleet of fleet of orbiting broadband relay stations that could eventually number in the thousands.
Sixty more satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink global Internet network streaked into orbit Monday night from Cape Canaveral, including one spacecraft to test an experimental dark coating to address scientists’ concerns that the thousands of the quarter-ton, flat-panel satellites will impede astronomical observations.
SpaceX’s next launch of satellites for the company’s Starlink broadband network — planned in the final days of 2019 — will carry one spacecraft with an experimental coating designed to make it less reflective in orbit, a first step in assuaging concerns from scientists who say the deployment of thousands more Starlink stations would impede some astronomical observations.
The most-used instrument on the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope is back in business after engineers on the ground determined a fault that halted the camera’s science observations earlier this month was caused by erroneous telemetry data, and was not a symptom of a hardware failure as initially suspected.
The partial shutdown of the U.S. government could complicate efforts to troubleshoot a suspected hardware problem with the Hubble Space Telescope’s premier science instrument, but officials are optimistic the camera will eventually be restored to operations, the head of the observatory’s science operations team said Wednesday.