SpaceX wraps up Starlink launches for 2022

Starlink launches in December 2022

Starlink Group 4-37: December 17, 2022, 21:32 UTC (4:32 p.m. EST)
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Kennedy Space Center, Florida | SUCCESS

Starlink Group 5-1: December 28, 2022, 9:34 UTC (4:34 a.m. EST)
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Cape Canaveral, Florida | SUCCESS

You can watch above or go directly to SpaceX’s YouTube channel for a livestream of the launch. Livestreams typically begin about five minutes before liftoff.

After launch, look for a train of lights

Following every Starlink launch, the internet buzzes with people asking:

What’s that long line of lights in the sky that looks like a train?

What you’re seeing is the Starlink satellites moving into a higher orbit. You can check to see if they will pass over your area using the Find Starlink website.

If you live near the launch sites on the east and west coasts of the United States, you may also see the rocket ascending into the sky, leaving behind a billowing glow. This sight also causes people to clamor with questions. In the photo below, you can see what a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch looks like.

Cigar-shaped light of Starlink with billowing wispy light behind over dark beach and ocean.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Our friend Bob Kissling took this image and wrote: “Spectacular view of the September 24, 2022, SpaceX launch rocketing up the east coast of the United States! At around 7:40 p.m., the rocket, carrying 52 Starlink satellites, passed by the beaches of Ocean City, New Jersey, just after sunset!” Thank you, Bob!

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Growing numbers amid controversy

According to Wikipedia, as of September 2022, Starlink consists of over 3,000 mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit that communicate with designated ground transceivers. They provide internet access to over 500,000 subscribers as of June 2022.

Love ’em or hate ’em, these Starlink satellites are part of SpaceX’s vision for a global internet communication satellite constellation. They deliver high-speed internet service worldwide, mainly to locations where ground-based internet is unreliable, unavailable, or expensive. The private company is well-known for launching batches back-to-back, several times a month, regularly lofting 60 satellites at a time. And SpaceX plans to build up to perhaps as many as 30,000 eventually.

Most thought it was exciting to see the first few Starlink satellites traveling together in the night sky. But then more were launched, and then more. And astronomers began to worry.

Read more about the issue of satellites and astronomy in our article How satellites harm astronomy: what’s being done.

Bottom line: SpaceX’s final Starlink launch for the year took flight from Florida at 9:34 UTC on December 28, 2022.

Read more from EarthSky: Starlink satellites can look like a plume or train of light

Via Space Launch Schedule

December 27, 2022

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