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Starlink satellites: There goes the neighborhood

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#1 SteveThornton1

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 04:37 PM

Has anyone seen images of the 60 Starlink satellites just released by SpaceX?  The first of several thousand

bright naked-eye satellites to be orbited for world wide internet use.  I would imagine deep-sky imaging might be taking a hit, not to mention astronomy camera manufacturers.  Take a look at the video on Spaceweather.com.



#2 petert913

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 04:43 PM

Thousands more pieces of space debris.  Wonderful.



#3 t_image

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 04:49 PM

Here's a video I captured last night, on another CN thread:

https://www.cloudyni...lites-on-video/



#4 Astroman007

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 05:24 PM

Thousands more pieces of space debris.  Wonderful.

Let's pool our resources and launch a satellite that swings a giant sledgehammer...


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#5 Francois

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 09:23 AM

Thousands more pieces of space debris.  Wonderful.

At 350 km altitude, it's not any concern, at all. Any uncontrolled satellite or debris will reenter on a timescale of 5 years, less if the sun is highly active. Plus they're not in a polar orbit. It's not like those are olde soviet RORSATs which are ultra-dense (and also leak sodium droplets).

 

The whole debris and cascade thing is really more about higher up sun-syncs (where the risk of conjunction in the polar regions is high) and geostationary orbit. Non-polar low orbit is of no concern, especially if it's lower than the ISS.

 

The ~1000km altitude branch of starlink, however, is more problematic.



#6 RedLionNJ

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 11:15 AM

Every few years, people make a fuss ("oh, no Mr Bill - it's the end of deep sky imaging!") about some new satellite or even constellation of satellites "ruining the night sky for imagers". It didn't happen with Iridium, it didn't happen with any since and it's not going to happen with StarLink. The only kind of artificial body which could seriously affect deep sky imaging would be something bright but moving at close to sidereal rate across the sky (keeping up with the stars). But we already have an example of a billion times "worse" than that, with the moon. And yet somehow, we work around it.

 

If any satellite (Starlink or otherwise) tracks across a single sub-frame, there are several stacking techniques to discard "outlier" pixels and preserve the rest of the frame into the stack.

 

I really, really don't see Starlink as an issue, except perhaps to get more of the public to look upwards for a short time.  And this would be a positive.


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#7 vidrazor

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 11:24 AM

I guess better filtration algorithms in astro processing software may be able to compensate. We're simply going to have to deal with lower signal-to-noise ratios for the sake of Wall St...

Edited by vidrazor, 26 May 2019 - 11:26 AM.


#8 bobzeq25

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 11:31 AM

Every few years, people make a fuss ("oh, no Mr Bill - it's the end of deep sky imaging!") about some new satellite or even constellation of satellites "ruining the night sky for imagers". It didn't happen with Iridium, it didn't happen with any since and it's not going to happen with StarLink. The only kind of artificial body which could seriously affect deep sky imaging would be something bright but moving at close to sidereal rate across the sky (keeping up with the stars). But we already have an example of a billion times "worse" than that, with the moon. And yet somehow, we work around it.

 

If any satellite (Starlink or otherwise) tracks across a single sub-frame, there are several stacking techniques to discard "outlier" pixels and preserve the rest of the frame into the stack.

 

I really, really don't see Starlink as an issue, except perhaps to get more of the public to look upwards for a short time.  And this would be a positive.

+ infinity


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#9 Jon Rista

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 03:35 PM

She sheer number of satellites he is intending to throw up there gives me concern. There have been nearly 9000 satellites launched since Sputnik, and of those ~4900 are still in orbit. What is more concerning, though, are the 360,000 pieces of debris zipping around up there at ballistic speeds..fragments of old satellites, bits and pieces of satellites blown up by other countries, flecks of paint (a single fleck of paint colliding with a satellite at speeds of ~50,000kph basically results in an explosion of said satellite, tossing tens to hundreds of thousands of additional uncontrolled fragments into orbit), which puts us at great risk of Kessler syndrome...a cascade of destruction of eventually everything in an orbital altitude band. To put up an additional TWELVE THOUSAND satellites, almost 3x more than we already have up there now, when we have at least an estimated 360,000 pieces of ballistic debris, only a tiny fraction of which is tracked, seems very unwise...

 

There are other ways to bring internet to the world. Better and more reliable and far less risky ways, too...


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#10 dcollier

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 05:17 PM

Yes, spotted them unexpectedly last night here in Indiana while observing with the astronomy club.  The member that was the first to spot it, remarked, what is that?   We quickly came up with several theories including an atmospheric effects by the recently set sun on an aircraft contrails or a secret military space project, for the surreal sight in the sky.   However, a quick check of Google revealed that it was SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite Train, the first 60 of some 1200 satellites to provide global internet service, in their pre-deployed configuration.   I am also not sure about putting this number of satellites in orbit.

 

https://www.space.co...lity-guide.html

 

 

-Dave



#11 bobzeq25

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 07:01 PM

She sheer number of satellites he is intending to throw up there gives me concern. There have been nearly 9000 satellites launched since Sputnik, and of those ~4900 are still in orbit. What is more concerning, though, are the 360,000 pieces of debris zipping around up there at ballistic speeds..fragments of old satellites, bits and pieces of satellites blown up by other countries, flecks of paint (a single fleck of paint colliding with a satellite at speeds of ~50,000kph basically results in an explosion of said satellite, tossing tens to hundreds of thousands of additional uncontrolled fragments into orbit), which puts us at great risk of Kessler syndrome...a cascade of destruction of eventually everything in an orbital altitude band. To put up an additional TWELVE THOUSAND satellites, almost 3x more than we already have up there now, when we have at least an estimated 360,000 pieces of ballistic debris, only a tiny fraction of which is tracked, seems very unwise...

 

There are other ways to bring internet to the world. Better and more reliable and far less risky ways, too...

But not cheaper or more potentially profitable.

 

The bad news is that this is far from the only scheme of this type.  Google "OneWeb" and "Project Kuiper".  The good news is that FCC approval requires an "orbital debris mitigation plan" (which includes collision avoidance), and is currently revising (presumably tightening) its rules for such plans.  Starlink's original plans were revised to meet this requirement.  A consideration is whether the presently "deregulation" minded government will approve the final regulations or enforce the plans.

 

People are also working on plans to remove debris, which cheap technology is making practical.  Still, the question is who will pay for that.


Edited by bobzeq25, 26 May 2019 - 07:08 PM.


#12 Jon Rista

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 11:13 PM

But not cheaper or more potentially profitable.

 

The bad news is that this is far from the only scheme of this type.  Google "OneWeb" and "Project Kuiper".  The good news is that FCC approval requires an "orbital debris mitigation plan" (which includes collision avoidance), and is currently revising (presumably tightening) its rules for such plans.  Starlink's original plans were revised to meet this requirement.  A consideration is whether the presently "deregulation" minded government will approve the final regulations or enforce the plans.

 

People are also working on plans to remove debris, which cheap technology is making practical.  Still, the question is who will pay for that.

Having many thousands of new satellites from multiple players in a competitive space forcing them to get as many up there as possible as quickly as possible isn't any better. I think this many satellites will be the demise of the LEO orbits, not to mention...how the heck do you get a spacecraft through that many satellites out to...wherever, the moon, mars, etc?

 

Very concerned...


Edited by Jon Rista, 26 May 2019 - 11:13 PM.


#13 bobzeq25

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 11:29 AM

Having many thousands of new satellites from multiple players in a competitive space forcing them to get as many up there as possible as quickly as possible isn't any better. I think this many satellites will be the demise of the LEO orbits, not to mention...how the heck do you get a spacecraft through that many satellites out to...wherever, the moon, mars, etc?

 

Very concerned...

Obviously I wasn't saying more satellite constellations are better.  As usual, I'm just trying to educate people about the reality.   "Deal with reality, or it will deal with you". 

 

Two issues.  The demise of the low earth orbits will be the big deal.  Shooting something through, much less, space starts to get big out there.  The orbitral debris mitigation plans are supposed to handle the issue. 

 

My concern is suppressed by a fact and an implication.  A government that sees no value in stopping people from blasting carbon into space is pretty unlikely to worry about stopping people from blasting satellites into space.   The former is much more of a problem, and vastly harder to solve.  Good schemes for cleaning out debris are being developed.  They're vastly cheaper, vastly more technologically feasible than schemes for scrubbing carbon out, vastly less likely to create unintended consequences.

 

Can you imagine pulling together mass public protests (many hundreds of thousands of people) of satellite constellations?  Starting a movement against them?  It hasn't worked for carbon.

 

I prioritize my many concerns these days.   One filter is "how many people care about this?"  On satellite constellations, I suspect the answer is not many.  And I'm imagine they're pretty evenly split, pro, and anti.  Mostly they want to know that stuff is not going to drop on their head, and that's being engineered.

 

It's not that this isn't worthy of concern.  It's that there are bigger fish to fry.


Edited by bobzeq25, 27 May 2019 - 11:55 AM.

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#14 terry59

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 11:51 AM

Having many thousands of new satellites from multiple players in a competitive space forcing them to get as many up there as possible as quickly as possible isn't any better. I think this many satellites will be the demise of the LEO orbits, not to mention...how the heck do you get a spacecraft through that many satellites out to...wherever, the moon, mars, etc?

 

Very concerned...

There are people who do just this for a living and provide launch windows as part of flight safety. For manned launches the criteria is much more restrictive than for satellites


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#15 Francois

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 01:53 PM

There is no need for concern for the low altitude (<600km) constellations. If you want something to worry about, look at OneWeb. Their altitude is much more problematic (1200km), and they're polar (87.77 degrees). It's the worst of all combinations. Atmospheric drag goes down exponentially with altitude, so those 1200km sats and their debris are roughly there forever. And just one debris cloud passing the poles is nightmare material.


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#16 Jon Rista

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 02:16 PM

There are people who do just this for a living and provide launch windows as part of flight safety. For manned launches the criteria is much more restrictive than for satellites

You seem to have missed the point. With tens of thousands of satellites flying around in all the various LEO altitudes, the possible number of safe launch windows shrinks dramatically.



#17 ChrisWhite

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 04:47 PM

What I don't like is that this is likely the tip of the iceberg.  So it's a thousand for now, maybe 10,000... what happens when it's a million?  Or 100,000,000?

 

From an imaging standpoint, probably not a problem.. but we humans have a habit of trashing wherever we go.



#18 bobzeq25

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 07:01 PM

What I don't like is that this is likely the tip of the iceberg.  So it's a thousand for now, maybe 10,000... what happens when it's a million?  Or 100,000,000?

 

From an imaging standpoint, probably not a problem.. but we humans have a habit of trashing wherever we go.

Feel free to not like it.  But I suggest that it's useless worry.  What you can't do is anything about it.

 

It's similar to worrying about the lousy weather we've been having.


Edited by bobzeq25, 27 May 2019 - 07:03 PM.


#19 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 08:08 PM

Just wait until China gets their system in place.  Also which country is going to have giant billboards first? https://astronomy.co...boards-in-space

 

I guess there are always model railroad building we can get into instead.



#20 lynnelkriver

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 08:31 PM

My wife and I saw them last night up in Minnesota.. really caught our eye with several of them close together followed by the tail end further apart (50 or 60 of them?).  I commented to my wife that it reminded me of an airplane towing a large advertisement banner... Whichwayisnorth is on to something!  Scott



#21 JP50515

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 08:32 PM

Just wait until China gets their system in place.  Also which country is going to have giant billboards first? https://astronomy.co...boards-in-space

 

I guess there are always model railroad building we can get into instead.

Advertising sattelites in space are completely banned by the FAA. Doesn't mean it won't happen. 


Edited by JP50515, 27 May 2019 - 08:34 PM.


#22 Kkiixx

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 08:46 PM

Three different satellite prediction sites puts starlink near Kansas City tonight around 10pm.

 

image from heavens-above from a location about 37 miles east of the state line.

 

HA.png

mondayWeather.png



#23 17.5Dob

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 09:14 PM

Has anyone seen images of the 60 Starlink satellites just released by SpaceX?  The first of several thousand

bright naked-eye satellites to be orbited for world wide internet use.  I would imagine deep-sky imaging might be taking a hit, not to mention astronomy camera manufacturers.  Take a look at the video on Spaceweather.com.

60 on top of the already, many times 10,000's of thousands ???? Pffft.....60 or a 1,000 more is not going to be an issue.

I have never tossed a single sub due to a satellite or even a stray jet. LEO sats need sunlight to even make them visible. During the Spring/Fall and especially Winter, the window of sunlight that can illuminate them only lasts 1 to 1- 1/2 hrs past astronomical twilight.

Lot's of angst about a non-problem


Edited by 17.5Dob, 27 May 2019 - 09:17 PM.


#24 Kkiixx

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 10:18 PM

I didnt see them :( - i saw another one zip through leo the opposite direction.   oh well, he just needs to launch more i guess. 



#25 pfile

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 10:44 PM

60 on top of the already, many times 10,000's of thousands ???? Pffft.....60 or a 1,000 more is not going to be an issue.

I have never tossed a single sub due to a satellite or even a stray jet. LEO sats need sunlight to even make them visible. During the Spring/Fall and especially Winter, the window of sunlight that can illuminate them only lasts 1 to 1- 1/2 hrs past astronomical twilight.

Lot's of angst about a non-problem

 

i hope you're not serious... there are about 5000 satellites currently in orbit, and musk alone intends to put up 12,000 more. 5000->17000 leaves us with 3x the number of satellites in orbit after starlink is complete.

 

anyway, this is probably not really going to be a problem for hobby astrophotography... it's the synoptic survey people that are worried.

 

rob




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