« Last post by su27k on Today at 01:45 am »
So starlinks are getting brighter again. They will also start getting even brighter with the larger sized ones.
This "dimmer than original" covers up the elephant in the room that is always ignored. They are only at the smaller magnitude when they reach final orbit. However, there are always hundreds of satellites on their way up to orbit (which takes several months. Starship is gonna change this to possibly thousands). In a couple years, there will also start to be many hundreds (or thousands) constantly on their way DOWN from orbit to be removed as they hit their 5yr lifespan or whatever and are replaced. So while some starlink satellites are at their minimum magnitude, there will always be a large number of satellites that are much brighter. The constellation will never be finished, there will always be many hundreds on their way up or down.
No and No.
They won't get even brighter with the larger sized ones since the larger sized ones will use better mirror material, it's all laid out in their brightness mitigation document. I would also expect later builds of Gen1 to reduce brightness again due to the use of this new material.
And satellites in transit is not "elephant in the room", SpaceX talks about them in every brightness related documents, there's no effort to try to ignore them. Also their impact should be minimal, i.e. not an "elephant" since:
1. SpaceX expects to use Starship to inject Gen2 satellites directly to their plane, this avoids the drifting to nearby orbital plane and speed up orbital raising from a few months to a few weeks.
2. Since Gen2 is 30,000 satellites, this means replacing 6,000 satellites every years assuming 5 year life span. Assuming orbital raising/deorbit takes 4 weeks, this means at any time there're only 461 x 2 = 922 satellites in transit, a very small number comparing to the entire constellation and inconsequential to astronomy (multiple astronomers have said the initial constellation does not have big impact to astronomy, 900 satellites is much smaller the Gen1)
3. The satellites in transit would be grouped together in a few satellite trains (probably less than 10), this means they're easier to avoid for astronomers
4. When the satellites are in lower orbit, they appear more briefly during twilight, thus further reduce their impact
5. In addition, SpaceX is also refining the attitude control and solar array pointing during these two phases to reduce brightness, they can do this because when raising orbit or deborit, satellite doesn't need to provide service thus doesn't need to keep a fixed orientation wrt ground, and can live with less power.