SpaceX launched yet another batch of Starlink internet satellites atop a Falcon 9 this week, moving the company tantalizingly close to firing up the network for a limited beta test. CEO Elon Musk has provided a few details about what such a test would look like, but SpaceX still only has a fraction of its planned Starlink constellation in orbit. The early tests will be limited, but it’s only a matter of time before the sky is crawling with Starlink nodes.
The first Starlink launch happened less than a year ago, successfully delivering 60 prototype v0.9 satellites into orbit. Some of that first batch stopped working, but most remain alive. Over the course of five subsequent launches, SpaceX deployed the final Starlink v1.0 satellites. Accounting for the failures, SpaceX now has about 415 satellites in orbit, making it the largest single satellite operator in the world.
Starlink will eventually include about 40,000 individual satellites, but Elon Musk previously said it would take between 400 and 800 satellites to bring the network online in a limited geographic area. Musk has talked a lot about how Starlink could bring connectivity to places with limited access, but it could be of use even in places where you can get other types of service. The approach of using large numbers of satellites, some of which are in very low orbits, could alleviate the lag issues that have made traditional satellite internet so unreliable.
Private beta begins in ~3 months, public beta in ~6 months, starting with high latitudes
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2020
Replying to a Twitter post, Musk said that the first private beta test could start in about three months. That could progress to a public beta test in six months. Because of the relatively small number of satellites, the tests will focus on higher latitudes. We know Starlink already works at least to some degree — Musk posted a tweet from the Starlink network several months ago. We don’t know, however, if it will be fast enough for things like Netflix streaming and video conferencing, both of which have become essential in the post-coronavirus world.
SpaceX has already asked for FCC authorization to deploy as many as one million satellite uplinks on the ground. That will be required for anyone who wants to use the Starlink network. SpaceX hasn’t provided any details on installation or availability for those devices, but Musk will probably talk about the plan on Twitter at some point. He always does.
In Space No One Can Hear You Campaign: Trump Team Pulls Ad – NDTV
President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has pulled a video featuring the SpaceX launch and astronauts which appeared to violate NASA’s media regulations, reports said.
The “Make Space Great Again” YouTube ad posted on YouTube showed footage from the Apollo program, as well as video of the landmark SpaceX Demo-2 mission and NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, the SpaceNews.com website said.
YouTube shows the video was removed by the uploader.
NASA generally allows use of its images and video but prohibits the use of its insignia and photographs of its astronauts in advertisements.
“As a government agency, NASA will not promote or endorse or appear to promote or endorse a commercial product, service or activity. Therefore, there are strict limits placed on the use of any of the NASA identities and emblem imagery in advertisements,” the space agency’s advertising regulations say.
“Astronauts or employees who are currently employed by NASA cannot have their names, likenesses or other personality traits displayed in any advertisements or marketing material.”
Hurley’s wife Karen Nyberg, a retired astronaut, and their young son were also reportedly shown in the clip.
“I find it disturbing that a video image of me and my son is being used in political propaganda without my knowledge or consent. That is wrong,” Nyberg tweeted.
A Change.org petition to “Stop Donald Trump politicizing SpaceX and NASA accomplishments” has attracted more than 6,000 signatures so far.
The New York Times described the video as “the latest effort by the president to parlay his stewardship of American space policy into an upbeat campaign issue.”
The SpaceX mission, which blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on May 30, was the first crewed US spacecraft in nearly a decade.
Trump, who witnessed the liftoff, has relaunched the race to re-conquer the Moon and to journey onwards to the Red Planet.
But the deadlines — 2024 and 2033 respectively — appear unrealistic and have caused turbulence within the space agency.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Donald Trumps campaign team pulls ad featuring NASA astronauts after backlash – Republic World – Republic World
US President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign pulled a video featuring the historic Dragon Crew launch after backlash from astronauts and NASA officials. Trump has been trying to project the success of NASA and SpaceX as an achievement of his administration and the latest video appeared to be in violation of the space agency’s policy.
Advertisement video posted on YouTube reportedly showed the footage of the Apollo program, and the Demo-2 mission, which resurrected the human spaceflight capability of the United States. NASA prohibits the use of any of the NASA identities and emblem imagery in advertisements. NASA’s advertising regulations say that the space agency will not promote or endorse or appear to promote or endorse a commercial product, service or activity.
“Astronauts or employees who are currently employed by NASA cannot have their names, likenesses or other personality traits displayed in any advertisements or marketing material,” the regulations read.
Retired NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, the wife of Doug Hurley who flew in the Dragon Crew spacecraft along with Bob Behnken, raised strong objection to the used of her photograph in the advertisement. Taking to Twitter, Nyberg said that she finds it “disturbing” that the video image was used without her consent.
A Change.org petition was initiated to stop Trump from politicising accomplishments of SpaceX and NASA and has attracted nearly 7,000 signatures so far. The petition argued that the NASA Commercial Crew Program has been around in its current form since the Obama Administration, and its roots go back to the Bush Administration.
It said that NASA and the space industry as a whole have long tried to stay out of politics, and, until this Administration, that goal was at least partially attained. The petition further added that implying any one person was responsible for the SpaceX-NASA Crew Demo-2 launch is an “insult to the work of the teams” that meaningfully contributed to its success.
A Strawberry Moon rises along with a partial eclipse on Friday – CTV News
A Strawberry Moon will rise on Friday and will pass through part of the shadow of the Earth in what is called a partial penumbral eclipse of the moon.
But don’t expect a red-hued moon resembling a “blood moon,” which occurs when there is a total lunar eclipse.
Rather, the Strawberry Moon gets its name for the time of year the full moon appears, according to NASA.
The space agency said the Algonquin tribes named the Strawberry Moon as such because it occurs during the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries in the north-eastern United States.
In Europe, NASA said the full moon has been called the Mead Moon or the Honey Moon after the fermented drink.
In appearance, the Old Farmer’s Almanac said the Strawberry Moon will appear large and golden-hued when it rises above the horizon. NASA said the moon will appear full for about three days, from early Thursday morning into early Sunday morning.
While the full moon will be a sight in and of itself, celestial watchers will be treated to an accompanying partial eclipse of the moon on Friday, depending on where they live.
Unfortunately for those in North America, the penumbral lunar eclipse won’t be visible because the moon becomes full during daylight hours when it’s below the horizon.
For observers in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, however, the moon will appear ever-so-slightly darker than normal as it passes through the outer edge of Earth’s shadow (the penumbra). The dimming effect won’t be as a dramatic as a total eclipse and will be difficult to detect for the casual watcher staring up at the sky.
The partial penumbral eclipse of the moon will occur on Friday afternoon at 3:12 p.m. Eastern.
Although moon-gazers in North America won’t be able to witness the partial eclipse in person, they can still livestream the lunar event thanks to the Virtual Telescope Project, which will stream the view above Rome’s skyline in Italy beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern.
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