Village News

Christmas Lights

200120 | SpaceX satellite train spotted across Devon and Cornwall and we could soon see a lot more them


SpaceX satellite train spotted across Devon and Cornwall and we could soon see a lot more them

The satellite 'train' was launched last year by billionaire Elon Musk

https://cf-images.eu-west-1.prod.boltdns.net/v1/static/4221396001/726b4e...
a7bc-298f1f99064e/1920x1080/match/image.jpg" />
SpaceX launches 60 new internet satellites into orbit

Look up at the night sky and you might see something quite remarkable - dozens of bright lights shooting over Earth one after another.

We're not talking about shooting stars, these bright lights are a new man-made addition to our skies.

In recent weeks, our readers across the south west have reported seeing bright dots flying through the sky in a perfect, equidistant line.

At first some feared aliens were about to invade but, as is so often the case, the answer lies in science and it could well be the science of the future.

It's highly likely that the train of lights is in fact satellites launched by US billionaire Elon Musk, who is hoping to create a global broadband internet infrastructure using thousands of satellites in space.

Currently, there are 182 Starlink satellites orbiting low around the Earth. A fortnight ago, SpaceX launched 60 and a further 60 are due to be launched later this month.

Experts say the Starlink satellites are most visible after they first launch, when they’re closer to the Earth and orbit in close proximity to one another.

With more being launched every few weeks, we can expect to see many more of them in the months to come.

We first reported on the intriguing lights show back in November after "40 UFOs" were spotted over Cornwall.

Walter Dixon, who watched them from Truro Prep School, said: “It was unreal – it was the precision that got me. It definitely felt like they were on a flight path. Never in my life have I seen anything like it.

“It was definitely strange. You see the odd satellite but never anything like this when there were so many objects in a line.

“I can’t explain it. They weren’t shooting stars – it was too clean, too straight and too perfect.”

And over the weekend, there were further sightings in both Devon and Cornwall.

Aaron Barrett sent the image below which he took from Seaton.

He said: "We just spotted the perfect line of Elon Musk's SpaceX satellites from Plymouth covering the whole sky in a perfect line apparently there is 60 of them."

Lights over Plymouth

Another reader emailed Cornwall Live saying they too witnessed the fascinating display.

They said: "Roughly about 6.30 this evening my partner opened our back door was looking up at the sky and the stars when all of a sudden spotted what he thought was two satellites which looked roughly about a mile apart from each other. Then there was another and another and at least another 80 that followed heading east from Camborne and was going quite fast.

"My partner called up to me to look out the bedroom window. We have seen some sightings over the years but this one is one we will never forget."

Rob Lane sent in this image

Above is another image from the sky sent to us on Sunday. Rob Lane added that he thought it was a meteor.

Big test launch

On Sunday, January 19, it was reported that Elon Musk's SpaceX completed the last big test of its crew capsule before launching astronauts in as little as two months, mimicking an emergency escape shortly after lift-off on Sunday.

No-one was aboard for the wild ride in the skies above Cape Canaveral, just two mannequins.

The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off as normal but just over a minute into its supersonic flight, the Dragon crew capsule catapulted off the top 12 miles above the Atlantic.

Powerful thrusters on the capsule propelled it up and out of harm's way as the rocket engines deliberately shut down and the booster tumbled out of control in a fiery flash.

Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying a communications satellite

The capsule reached an altitude of about 27 miles before parachuting into the ocean just offshore to bring the nine-minute test flight to a close and pave the way for two NASA astronauts to climb aboard next time.

SpaceX flight controllers at the company's California headquarters cheered every milestone - especially the splashdown.

Everything appeared to go well despite the choppy seas and overcast skies.

Within minutes, a recovery ship was alongside the capsule and preparing to pull it from the water.

"I'm super fired up," said Mr Musk, the company's founder and chief executive.

"It's just going to be wonderful to get astronauts back into orbit from American soil after almost a decade of not being able to do so.

"That's just super exciting."

Recycled from three previous launches, the SpaceX rocket was destroyed as it crashed into the sea in pieces.

The company founded and led by Mr Musk normally recovers its boosters, landing them upright on a floating platform or back at the launch site.

"That's the main objective of this test, is to show that we can carry the astronauts safely away from the rocket in case anything's going wrong," SpaceX's Benji Reed, director of crew mission management, said.

"This test is very important to us ... a huge practice session," Mr Reed added.

Nasa's commercial crew programme manager, Kathy Lueders, said the launch abort test was "our last open milestone" before allowing SpaceX to launch Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken to the International Space Station.

Its administrator Jim Bridenstine and Mr Musk agreed that could happen in the second quarter - as early as April.

"We are purposely failing a launch vehicle to make sure that our abort system on the spacecraft, that will be flying for our crews, works," Ms Lueders said in advance of the demo.

Delayed a day by bad weather, Sunday's launch from Kennedy Space Centre brought together hundreds of SpaceX, Nasa and Air Force employees on land, at sea and in the air.

Tourists and locals alike packed the adjoining visitor complex and nearby beaches to see the dramatic fiery spectacle of an out-of-control rocket.

"Dragon high altitude, supersonic abort test is a risky mission, as it's pushing the envelope in so many ways," Mr Musk tweeted minutes before lift-off.

Mr Hurley and Mr Behnken, the Nasa astronauts assigned to the first SpaceX crew, monitored the flight from the firing room, including the capsule recovery effort.

They took part in a dress rehearsal on Friday, suiting up and heading to the launchpad.

Nasa astronauts have not launched from the US since 2011, when the space shuttle programme ended.

via https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/spacex-satellite-train-s...