SpaceX has signed a six-year agreement with the United States National Science Foundation to help reduce the effects Starlink satellites have on astronomy.
The agreement will see the two groups work together to reduce satellites’ brightness through physical design, orientation and other methods.
The two groups have been in talks for months on how to best move forward.
SpaceX, for its part, has already implemented some changes back in July. This included using new materials and colours for the satellites to cut down on reflections.
Under the agreement, observatories will turn off laser guides when Starlink satellites are making a pass.
SpaceX, in turn, will prevent Starlink satellites from beaming communications during observations at specific radio astronomy facilities.
Sethuraman Panchanathan, National Science Foundation Director, said this about the announcement: (via PC Mag)
We are setting the stage for a successful partnership between commercial and public endeavors that allows important science research to flourish alongside satellite communication.
Although this is an excellent win for the scientific community, it does not cover other satellite internet networks which are in the early stages of deployment.
So, coordinating the growing satellite communication community worldwide and the scientific community focused on space exploration and discovery could still be a bit of work.