SpaceX Starlink Satellite Simulations

Mark Handley (UCL, University College London) has simulation showing the orbits of various SpaceX Starlink satellite constellations. There are simulations of 72, 264 and 11927 satellites. SpaceX is launching 60 satellites at a time. SpaceX has 60 production Starlink satellites in orbit now for testing.

SpaceX plans six more launches of Starlink satellites by the end of the year and should have enough for an initial 720 satellites for North America, Europe and Asia service by March or April 2020.

Below is a simulation of 11927 satellites in the final proposed Starlink constellation. Red satellites are the initial 1584 satellites at 550km altitude. White are 1600 second phase satellites at 1110km altitude and 53.8 degree inclination. Blue are 1225 satellites in polar orbits. Yellow shows the final 7518 satellites in 335km to 345km VLEO orbits, with inclinations of 53, 48 and 42 degrees.

SOURCES- Youtube, Mark Handley, UCL
Written By Brian Wang,

13 thoughts on “SpaceX Starlink Satellite Simulations”

  1. Sounds like a jerkoff but he wasn’t necessarily lying. Light pollution depends heavily on what part of a city you’re in and your orientation to major light sources. I live in a city where the light pollution drops off dramatically at a certain point, it just depends on “where” in Sydney he was looking.

  2. I have a house in Northern Maine (lat = 46 degrees), and, even when I was willing to put up the the latency of a GEO satellite, the horizon angle to reach the bird was about 37 degrees–if the bird was near the meridian, which it usually wasn’t.

    Sighting through the trees is almost impossible. With Starlink, or any other LEO constellation, you almost always have a bird near the zenith. It would almost be worth it just in terms of tree-topping costs. As it happens, we have somebody who provides residential terrestrial microwave service right now, so I’ll have to comparison-shop when Starlink goes online.

  3. I was an early adopter of satellite radio – it was expensive, but well worth it considering the sorry state of the AM/FM bands.

    I’m likely to get this when available, just so I’m no longer tied to Comcast.

  4. Meh. I heard a long talk on the radio once about some professional astronomer whining about how city lights meant that astronomers had to work out in the bush where there are bugs and country folk and less coffee shops and how this was an outrage.
    He was demanding laws to prevent bright lights in the city so that he could work in the middle of Sydney and still get to his local restaurants.

    Then he added that people living in Sydney could not even see the stars in the Southern Cross, because the lights were too bright. Now this was at about 9 pm, and I was in the inner Sydney suburb of Chatswood at the time, so I looked up… and there was the Southern Cross exactly as he predicted I wouldn’t be able to see. So he was straight out lying in the hope that nobody checked.

  5. These are important and Oliver the cat wants the squirrels and burbs in the park vids as well

  6. Professional pictures are now all accumulated with CCD devices, so it’s fairly easy to ignore the photons coming from a moving source: you have an algorithm that simply subtracts them from the photons coming from your (relatively) fixed sources.

    I’ve been an on-again-off-again amateur astronomer (or, more accurately, telescope user) for most of my life. When I took the hobby up again about 10 years ago, one of the things that was most noticeable was that it was a rare night where a satellite didn’t go tumbling through any random quarter-degree field of view at least once. That never happened back in the 1970’s.

  7. i think the reaction was way ove the top especially since the satellites are not in their permanent altitude yet too.. but i appreciate that elon will try to satisfy them with lower albedo … but long term we need to get our astronomy off the earth and into the sky cheaply

  8. The price could be expected to go down as production in series and technical advances kick in.

    But first adopters will indeed have to pony up a higher prize for having universal Internet access.

  9. For my part, I’m amused by the many outraged reactions of social network astronomers, telling Starlink is practically the apocalypse for astronomy and sky watching, after the train of satellites was spotted flitting across several countries’ night skies.

    I imagine they will be noticeable indeed, with the flashes becoming a common sight around dusk and dawn.

    Some people have shown that the probability of a satellite ruining a professional picture still is relatively low, given their low aperture angle, but big aperture ones are indeed in trouble.

    All of this fuzz, without any consideration to the fact that astronomy had to move out of Earth to reach its true potential, and that this is the general direction space industrialization is moving towards.

    Imagine the angst when they realize what SPSs and multiple big commercial space stations would do to the pristine night sky.

    Of course, civilization, science and technology march on. But every time, without fail, there is resistance because how they dare change the way the world has been since the beginning?

  10. I’m curious as to how the ground side of things are working out, last I heard you needed a phased array antenna to work with a number of low orbit satellites and those antenna are not cheap, something like $1,000 for the cheapest if I remember correctly, while this is not expensive for a facility or company, it would bar the way for most consumers.

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