Technology mogul Elon Musk has said SpaceX is ‘fixing’ the brightness of its Starlink satellites.
There had been several reports that the SpaceX satellites could be seen from Earth by eagle-eyed stargazers across the globe.
The company, founded in 2002, is aiming to reduce space transportation costs, enabling people from Earth to reestablish themselves on Mars.
While no one seemed to be complaining about spotting the bright satellites, one stargazer tweeted Musk about them, asking why they were suddenly more noticeable in the sky.
Taking to Twitter, Everyday Astronaut asked:
Is there a reason they’ve been brighter and more noticeable lately? I feel like tons of people are spotting them all of a sudden and they went fairly unnoticed before.
To which Musk responded, saying: ‘Solar panel angle during orbit raise / park. We’re fixing it now.’
In another tweet, Musk explained further:
We are taking some key steps to reduce satellite brightness btw. Should be much less noticeable during orbit raise by changing solar panel angle & all sats get sunshades starting with launch 9.
Yesterday, April 22, SpaceX launched another 60 Starlight satellites, taking the total it has launched to more than 400.
As well as this, NASA announced it will be launching astronauts into space next month, on May 27, alongside its SpaceX partner.
The Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon spacecraft will be taking two astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, to NASA’s International Space Station.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstein broke the news on Twitter last week, April 17, writing:
BREAKING: On May 27, @NASA will once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil! With our @SpaceX partners, @Astro_Doug and @AstroBehnken will launch to the @Space_Station on the #CrewDragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Let’s #LaunchAmerica
Hurley also confirmed the news a couple of days later on social media, writing both he and Bob were ‘extremely grateful’ to SpaceX and NASA’s Commercial Crew for ‘continuing to do incredible work during extremely challenging circumstances’.
Soon, however, astronauts won’t be the only ones able to fly to space; SpaceX are hoping to send three tourists next year to the International Space station.
The company announced the news on Thursday, March 5, revealing it had signed a deal with startup Axiom Space, which plans to take tourists, private researchers, astronauts from foreign countries and other individuals to the International Space Station (ISS).
The trip would mark the first time in history a US spacecraft is used to take tourists to the ISS. Tourists have flown to the ISS before – US businessman Dennis Tito paid Russia $20 million for a round trip to the ISS in 2001, reports – though Axiom says this will be ‘the first-ever fully private’ trip to the space station.
But before you start eagerly booking time off work in anticipation, it’s likely to cost you a small fortune to take the trip. Better get saving…