Not even the COVID-19 pandemic can dictate a temporary pause in the launch of more SpaceX satellites. The company led by Elon Musk has just sent another shipment of 60 pieces of equipment to the Starlink constellation, which now has 422 orbiting satellites.
In addition to launching more satellites, SpaceX has successfully landed the Falcon 9 rocket on a maritime platform. It is recalled that in February, after the launch of the fifth cargo of satellites, Falcon 9 almost missed the target on landing on the unmanned vessel in the Atlantic Ocean.
Although there is still a long way to go to reach the goal of 42,000 satellites, the company is approaching the launch of Internet coverage services at a global level and plans to start private beta tests within 3 months. On twitter, SpaceX's CEO again underlined the company's intentions to have an operational service already in 2020, adding that public tests could start in 6 months.
The impact of the Starlink satellite constellation on the sky has been the subject of controversy among the community of astronomers due to the visual pollution it is causing in space observation. Recently, even astronauts on board the International Space Station have managed to capture one of SpaceX's equipment trains during an aurora observation over Antarctica.
Although he believes that the constellation will have no impact on astronomy, Elon Musk has already shown a willingness to cooperate with the scientific community to find solutions, having arranged a meeting with European researchers. In addition, the CEO of SpaceX revealed on Twitter that the company is taking steps to reduce the level of light caused by the satellites. From the 9th launch, the equipment will have a kind of parasols and the company also intends to change the angle of the satellite solar panels.