• Sai Charan

SpaceX Launches 58 Starlink Satellites

Yesterday, SpaceX launched its latest batch of Starlink satellites. This launch grows the Starlink constellation by another 58 satellites and brings the total number of operational Starlink satellites to 538.

Starlink is a satellite constellation being constructed by SpaceX to provide satellite internet connection. The constellation will consist of thousands of small satellites in low Earth orbit. Ground based transmitters will be used to send and receive information.

The Starlink constellation can provide internet connection to remote locations where typical broadband services cannot operate due to unprofitability. It also greatly decreases latency which is the delay in the transfer of data. Latency is very important for stock market traders as it is crucial in determining the exact price of a stock at a particular time.

Concerns have been raised about the long term impact of space debris from the satellites. There is also a possible impact on astronomy. The satellites may cause difficulty in observing celestial bodies from Earth. SpaceX has said that they are working on a solution to minimise the impact on astronomy but did not comment on the impact of space debris.

I feel that although the benefits of Starlink outweigh the drawbacks, the drawbacks must not be overlooked. Space debris is hazardous to active satellites and spacecraft. I suggest the deployment of space debris removal satellites like the NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite to solve the space debris problem created by the satellites and using coating that darkens the orbiter’s reflectivity to reduce the problems posed to astronomy by the satellites.