The Low Earth Orbit Satellite Population and Impacts of the SpaceX Starlink Constellation

@article{McDowell2020TheLE,
  title={The Low Earth Orbit Satellite Population and Impacts of the SpaceX Starlink Constellation},
  author={Jonathan C. McDowell},
  journal={The Astrophysical Journal},
  year={2020},
  volume={892}
}
  • J. McDowell
  • Published 2020
  • Physics, Geology
  • The Astrophysical Journal
I discuss the current low Earth orbit artificial satellite population and show that the proposed `megaconstellation' of circa 12,000 Starlink internet satellites would dominate the lower part of Earth orbit, below 600 km, with a latitude-dependent areal number density of between 0.005 and 0.01 objects per square degree at airmass < 2. Such large, low altitude satellites appear visually bright to ground observers, and the initial Starlinks are naked eye objects. I model the expected number of… Expand
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