SpaceX has published unique footage taken during the launch of a new batch of Starlink satellites into orbit. The video demonstrates a special coating of the spacecraft designed to reduce light pollution of the sky.
The recording was made on September 16. On that day, the Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched a new batch of 22 Starlink satellites into orbit. Its first stage then landed on an autonomous barge in the Atlantic Ocean. Remarkably, this flight was already the 200th for the Block 5 modification. It debuted in 2018, becoming the “final” for the rocket. All two hundred flights of the Falcon 9 Block 5 were successful.
The published video was made by a camera mounted on the second stage of the Falcon 9. It shows a close-up of a bunch of Starlink satellites launched into orbit. We can see that their body is a black reflective surface, on which you can see both the reflection of the Earth and the second stage of the Falcon 9.
Starlink received this coverage after numerous complaints from the scientific community. The launches of the first batches of satellites were accompanied by the formation of the famous “trains”: strings of bright lights that were clearly visible from the Earth. This led to the fact that many astronomers accused SpaceX of destroying the night sky with its actions, and the further deployment of Starlink would lead to big problems for optical astronomy.
The company promised to solve the problem of excessive brightness of Starlink. After a series of experiments with various designs, it opted for a combination of dielectric mirrors on the surface of satellites and extremely dark black paint on their inclined surfaces. They help to absorb and redirect light from the Earth, reducing the visible brilliance of satellites and reducing damage to optical astronomy.
However, do not forget that in addition to problems for optical telescopes, Starlink can also interfere with radio astronomy.
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