SpaceX announced a new method of reducing the brightness of Starlink’s satellites recently. The space company will use something similar to sun visors, dubbed VisorSat, to keep sunlight from reflecting off the satellite’s antennas.
VisorSat would deploy panels on a car windshield to block the sun. Currently, SpaceX didn’t announce how many satellites would be equipped with visors, or when the liftoff was scheduled.
VisorSat is SpaceX’s Second Attempt to Reduce Starlink Satellite’s Brightness
Elon Musk detailed that SpaceX will try an “orientation roll” to modify the placement of the solar panels relative to our planet. The amount of sunlight reflected on the ground will be significantly reduced, according to Musk’s plans.
The measures SpaceX has done come after a long time of discussions with astronomers, who have been concerned about the effects a full constellation of Starlink satellites would have on astronomy. The issue was of particular interest to those under development telescopes, such as the Vera Rubin Observatory in Chile.
The telescope could capture Starlink’s satellites instead of desired cosmic features. Tony Tyson, the chief scientist for the Rubin Observatory, discussed what the brightness of unmodified Starlink satellites would do. He stated: “We would be left with all of these fake trials, fake galaxies, etc., in our data, damaging the science.”
More About the New Innovation from SpaceX
The new strategies won’t address the problem of the brightness of existing Starlink satellites. However, Musk explained that their lifetime is limited. The first generation of satellites is said to be deorbited in approximately three to four years.
Then, a next-gen of more significant satellites will be launched. Musk also discussed the role SpaceX could have in supporting space-based astronomy. He said: “I’m pretty interested in trying to figure out how to help launch and possibly build a big observatory in space.”