SpaceX starlink satellites cause strange lights in sky over Kentucky

Published: Apr. 27, 2020 at 3:57 PM EDT
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On April 22nd Elon Musk's space venture, SpaceX, successfully launched 60 Starlink Satellites into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center. The brightness of these satellites and linear pattern have taken many people by surprise, and left them wondering, what exactly is floating through our nighttime skies.

The 60 Starlink Satellites that many have seen in the skies already is just one step in a much greater plan.

"Eventually there will be 12,000 of them in orbit. To put it in perspective, there are only 2,000 satellites in orbit right now so this is an enormous jump," Tim Knauer, Director of the MacAdam Student Observatory at the University of Kentucky, said. "They'll be visible in the first half of their launch to the naked eye, but then they are going to move into a higher orbit where they will be disappearing to everything but cameras and telescopes."

They will eventually orbit from around 550km above earth, or 341 miles, which will be their operational altitude. These low orbiting satellites serve a great purpose to the digital world, and one that many working from home will be happy to hear.

"If you live in a rural town in northern Canada for example, or Montana, then there's no cable there," Knaur said. "This would finally get you internet connection."

It's intention is to bring broadband internet to more areas where internet access has been unreliable, far too expensive, or completely unavailable in the past.

Starlink's website says that they are aiming to have service up and running for the northern United States and Canada this year. They look to expand globally by 2021.