New Starlink satellites and AST Space Mobile’s BlueWalker 3 satellite were launched by SpaceX over the past weekend. The new satellite, which was launched recently and is intended to test cell phone connection technologies, has astronomers concerned. It can reflect enough light to outshine Venus, the second brightest object in the night sky, thanks to its 8 m long antenna and 64 m2 surface area.
The more dazzling these objects are, the more harm they will cause to photographs of the night sky, according to astronomer John Barentine of Dark Sky Consulting, a company that provides advice on protecting the night sky. He mentions that in addition to this issue, there are satellite transmission issues, which could interfere with radio telescope frequencies since they need a powerful radio wave beam to connect to customers’ cellphones.
While BlueWalker 3 is now “alone,” AST Space Mobile intends to begin launching 100 Bluebirds satellites the following year. They may be larger than BlueWalker 3 by more than two times, and if so, they may also appear to be brighter in the sky.
International law does not restrict the size of satellites, but Chris Johnson, a space law consultant at the Secure World Foundation, believes that the launch of BlueWalker 3 may serve as a reminder of the limitations of current laws. He said, “I consider this as a violation of astronomers’ right to explore space.
When we consider the number of businesses that launch satellites into Earth orbit, the problem gets considerably more complicated. Amazon, OneWeb, and other companies intend to enter this competition with their own satellites in addition to SpaceX, which has tens of thousands of Starlink satellites in orbit already. The majority of astronomers agree that there will be more satellites in the future, but what they really desire is harmonious coexistence, according to Barentine. “Satellites can’t be made invisible,”
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