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May 5, 2020

SpaceX to debut satellite-dimming sunshade on next Starlink launch

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, internet, satellites

A new sunshade, or visor, designed to reduce the brightness of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband Internet satellites will debut on the company’s next launch, a measure intended to alleviate astronomers’ concerns about impacts on observations through ground-based telescopes, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said.

Beginning with the next launch of Starlink satellites — scheduled for 18 May from Cape Canaveral — SpaceX will try out a new light-blocking panel to make the spacecraft less visible to skywatchers and astronomers.

“We have a radio-transparent foam that will deploy nearly upon the satellite being released (from the rocket),” Musk said on 27 April at a virtual meeting of the National Academies’ Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 panel, a committee charged with setting the top priorities for US astronomy for the next decade.

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