SpaceX Starlink satellites create a celestial dot-to-dot

Shane McGlaun - May 27, 2019, 7:53 am CDT
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SpaceX Starlink satellites create a celestial dot-to-dot

SpaceX was finally able to launch the first 60 Starlink satellites that will eventually provide global internet coverage. The launch had been scrubbed in the past because the satellites needed a software update. Eventually, there will be 12,000 of the satellites in orbit to blanket the Earth with internet connectivity. That is assuming that all goes to plan for SpaceX.

The satellites launched in rapid succession to each other, putting them very close to one another in orbit. The day after the launch SatTrackCam, a camera a based in Leiden, the Netherlands that focuses on tracking spy satellites spied the train of SpaceX satellites zipping around the heavens.

The satellites made a train of bright dots in the night sky and reportedly prompted several UFO reports to be called in. The guy running the camera says that he ran some calculations based on the orbital information and readied the camera. The orbital information he used was 53-degree inclination and a 440 km orbital altitude initially.

The satellites passed by about three minutes before predictions. The video shows that the bulk of the satellites are clumped together in a big mass and others straggling behind the main group. Over the coming days, the sting of satellites will be making 2-3 passes around the Earth each night.

The satellites are maneuvering with their ion thrusters now meaning they will spread out more and more with each pass meaning the train of satellites will dissipate as the satellites orbit. The satellites intend to increase their orbit from the 440 km altitude they were launched at to about 550 km over the coming days. The video was shot with a WATEC 902H low-light-level surveillance camera with a Canon FD 1.8/50mm lens.


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