It seems that Elon Musk’s company is finally worrying about the impact of its devices on the night sky.
Elon Musk has several open fronts in the planet. To electric mobility you have to add the space adventure of SpaceX and, of course, let’s not forget his constellation growing of satellites, Starlink, which provide a stable and reliable connection to the network in any corner of the world where the service is available. The critics by the astronomers They were not long in coming, although Starlink published at the time the measures it intended to implement to avoid problems when observing the night sky. It is now, a couple of years later, when Elon Musk has managed to create a invisibility cloak for its satellites, through the use of mirrors, paint and panelsas the North American company points out in its latest statement.
A method to best mask Starlink activity in the heights
According to the document presented by SpaceX, the first solution that they implemented in the Starlink satellites was the use of a sun visor, which was capable of blocking the light that caused the reflections of the sun at that time that is between day and night. The first reason for remove this viewer was that interfered with laser technology of the satellites, but also that it caused a higher fuel consumption in order to maintain their orbits.
It seems that new spacex solution happen to use a mirror sheetwho would be able to reflect sunlight, although this solution would only be applicable to the second generation of satellites. This sheet, according to SpaceX itself, could reduce brightness 10 times, compared to the first generation. In addition, they would also be using darker materialsgoing from a dark red to a black with low reflectivity, to cover certain parts of the satellite that cannot be laminated.
Lastly, the third measure to avoid reflection of sunlight is distribute solar cells of the panels out of reach of lightning of the sun. According to the document above-mentioned:
This maneuver of displacement of the solar rays implies a reduction of 25% of the power available for the satellites. Despite this cost, SpaceX has specifically designed the second generation of satellites to be able to accommodate this significant energy reduction.
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