SpaceX launches another 60 Starlink satellites into orbit

Baku, June 5, AZERTAC

Elon Musk's Starlink programme has successfully launched a further 60 satellites into orbit around Earth, according to Daily Mail.

SpaceX has permission from the FCC for a constellation of 12,000 such satellites and it is hoped they will beam internet down to all of Earth's inhabitants.

This launch takes the current total of Starlink satellites in orbit to 482 and the company says it will be able to offer a 'moderate' service when it reaches 800.

The project has received widespread criticism from astronomers for tainting the natural view of the night sky as the satellites are highly reflective.

As a result, SpaceX has included an experimental craft with an inbuilt sun visor in this batch.

It is hoped the system will reduce the amount of light that is reflected by the spacecraft and therefore reduce its visibility from Earth.

'The goal of Starlink is to create a network that will help provide internet services to those who are not yet connected, and to provide reliable and affordable internet across the globe,' Kennedy Space Center said in a blog post.

The 60 satellites launched atop the firm's Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 8:55pm EDT on June 3 (1:55am BST June 4).

Installing a sunshade on a 575lbs (260kg) satellite orbiting 341 miles above Earth is the second method SpaceX has tried to reduce the visibility of the constellation.

Previously, on the January 6 launch, one satellite was covered in a dark coating designed to appease to appease disgruntled astronomers.

However, SpaceX engineers had hoped this would reduce brightness by up to 55 per cent, but the paint caused the machinery to absorb radiation and overheat.

Now, Elon Musk's company is trialling a system called VisorSat, which will keep antennae in the shade to stop it reflecting sunlight.

'We have a radio-transparent foam that will deploy nearly upon the satellite being released, and it blocks the sun from reaching the antennas,' Musk said of the system in April.

The maverick billionaire added that the reason Starlink is so prominent from Earth with the naked eye is because of the angle of the satellite's solar panels.

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