SpaceX Working on Fix for Starlink Satellites So They Don’t Disrupt Astronomy

Space News has the details:

President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said the Starlink brightness problem caught the company by surprise

LOS ANGELES — One of the Starlink satellites in the next batch of 60 that SpaceX plans to launch in late December will be treated with a special coating designed to make the spacecraft less reflective and less likely to interfere with space observations, SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said Dec. 6.

“We are going to get it done,” Shotwell said during a meeting with reporters at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne.

SpaceX already has deployed 120 satellites that beam high-speed internet, and thousands more will be launched over the next few years. Soon after the first launch in May, astronomers noted that the satellites were extremely bright, prompting concerns that the constellation will interfere with scientific research and views of the night sky.

Shotwell said the next batch has one satellite “where we put a coating on the bottom.” She noted that this is just an experiment and could not predict if it will work. “We’re do trial and error to figure out the best way to get this done,” said Shotwell.

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