SpaceX plans to integrate dark visors in future satellites from Starlink. The improvement comes with the company’s decision to incorporate translucent equipment throughout its satellite network.
Patricia Cooper, the vice president of satellite affairs at SpaceX, stated on May 26 that SpaceX has 80 scheduled Starlink satellite launches that include their new build. According to the company, the improvement is a worthy inclusion until standard sunshades used to prevent the sunlight from destroying transparent parts of each satellite become mandatory.
“At their present light, we will have around 500 satellites, and then any satellites after that will carry such Sunshades,” said Cooper during a US Astronomical Society webinar.
SpaceX has deployed 422 Starlink satellites from 2018, two of which are test launches. The company currently has plans to build and deploy an initial network of 4,400 satellites. However, legislative documents show that Starlink, as a company, has the potential to develop up to 12,000 or even 42,000 satellites.
SpaceX’s first satellite, known as VisorSat, had a planned liftoff for May 17. However, the launch date was affected by Tropical Storm Arthur, and SpaceX postponed the long-awaited Crew Demo-2 project to a future launch date on May 27. Cooper reports stating that his company SpaceX already has a designated timeline for the next Starlink flight yet to be revealed.
SpaceX regularly launches Starlink Satellites in quantities of 60 onboard Falcon 9 rockets. This report means that the company expects to have one or two further flights that lack sun blocking mounted Starlink Satellites. Cooper said that SpaceX plans to replace its earlier launched Starlink satellites so that the discovery gets to apply in most of the company’s satellites.
Cooper adds that the company doesn’t anticipate extended lifespan for earlier edition satellites already in orbit. SpaceX expects these satellites to have a maximum lifespan of five-year existence. Coper also states that the discovery allows VisorSat mitigation to be cut down maintenance costs to the point where the company can launch 500 units.
Tony Tyson, the lead researcher at Vera Rubin Observatory, advised that satellites from Starlink would feature increased magnitudes up to level 7. This new feature would enable better interaction with astronomers via image analysis. The DarkSat is a six magnitude Starlink satellite fitted with an innovative darker shell.
Tyson says that the system features an improvement. However, the company hopes to hit the seventh level ultimately. SpaceX works to improve astronomers use Starlink’s network.