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SpaceX starts launching Starlink satellites for global internet system

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket, with a payload of 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink broadband network, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, May 23, 2019. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Last week, SpaceX launched a new series of small satellites into Earth orbit.

The project is known as Starlink, as the company hopes to place some 12,000 small satellites into orbit for a new global internet system.

The hope is for every location on Earth to have a solid internet communications system.

The first 60 Starlink satellites were launched into orbit Thursday, and many people around the world have been viewing a very interesting “train” of satellites moving across our night skies.

As amazing as the sight of these satellites is to many, there is a growing concern from the astronomical community that these satellites will interfere with the imaging that large telescopes are taking of the night sky.

On a positive note, SpaceX has set up an interesting plan to help reduce overpopulation with satellites and space junk.

The plan calls for each Starlink satellite to de-orbit after its service life with its own propulsion system. If that were to fail, the satellite will de-orbit in a shorter period than many other spacecraft. Some of the older technology called for satellites to remain in orbit for decades or longer.

Each satellite weighs in at around 500 pounds.

Learn more about this SpaceX project here.

Observers in Arizona have a special opportunity to view the Starlink satellites by checking out N2YO.com.

This is a great website, which will help you to locate not only the Starlink swarm of satellites, but also help you locate the times of passage of many other bright spacecraft, such as the International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope.

Finally, here’s a great video of what the Starlink satellites looked like a few nights ago:

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday morning at 3 a.m.

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