Elon Musk’s satellites litter the heavens as astonishing video shows how 5,000 Starlink aircraft are whizzing around the Earth and ‘will soon outnumber the stars’

Over 5,000 Starlink satellites have been deployed by CEO of SpaceX and billionaire Elon Musk - only 4,000 less than the amount of visible stars in the sky

By Martha Williams,
Published by Daily Mail, 29 September 2023

  • Elon Musk’s 5,000 Starlink satellites are on track to surpass the number of visible stars in the sky, around 9,000
  • A fascinating video showed the staggering number floating around in space  
  • Scientists fear for the future of astronomy as Musk’s space junk litters our sky

Elon Musk‘s satellites are littering the heavens and an astonishing video has revealed how 5,000 of his Starlink aircraft are whizzing around the Earth.

Staggering footage posted by X user @flightclubio on September 18 shows thousands of little orange dots, representing the satellites, orbiting the planet and illustrating the vast scale of his investment. 

But though Starlink has been hailed for providing internet in war-torn Ukraine, astronomers fear that the devices may soon obstruct our view of the cosmos – with around 9,000 stars visible from our planet.

New research showed that low-frequency radio waves – like the ones produced by Musk’s machines – are leaking into the sky which makes it difficult for scientists to make astronomical observations.

Scientists are also concerned that Musk’s ‘space junk’ could cause an extreme collision event. The ‘Kessler syndrome’ – proposed by NASA scientist Donald Kessler in 1978 – said that if there is too much space junk in the earth’s orbit then the objects could collide and make MORE space junk. This would result in Earth’s orbit becoming unstable.

Research showed that low-frequency radio waves are leaking into the sky which makes it difficult for scientists to make astronomical observations

SpaceX launched Starlink satellites in May 2019 and have already sent over 5,000 of the mass-produced objects into space.

The company announced reaching over 2 million subscribers in September 2023 and plan to deploy 12,000 satellites – a goal which could be raised to 42,000.

The SpaceX Starlink is a low orbit satellite that provides internet with unlimited data and quick broadband speeds.

The satellites offer fixed-location or portable internet options to users for a hefty price.

Internet provider T-mobile provide broadband for $50 monthly with no installation fee – while Starlink charges up to $2,500 for installation and can cost users up to $250 a month.

Viewers expressed their fear in the comments of the astonishing video that was uploaded to Musk’s social media website X (formerly known as Twitter).

One user said: ‘The size and scale of the Starlink project concerns astronomers, who fear that the bright, orbiting objects will interfere with observations of the universe, as well as spaceflight safety experts who now see Starlink as the number one source of collision hazard in Earth’s orbit.’

Researchers at Max Planck Institute used a telescope in the Netherlands to observe 68 devices made by Starlink, finding 47 were emitting ‘unintended electromagnetic radiation’ emanating from onboard electronics.

The team feared that the amount of emissions could be enough to be mistaken as radio waves from celestial objects. 

Musk was accused of interfering in the war between Ukraine and Russia by refusing to turn on the satellite system because he wanted to ‘avoid being complicit in a major act of war’
The original plan was to deploy 12,000 Starlink satellites – but Musk filed paperwork in 2019 to up that number to 42,000

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