Elon Musk talks sun visors for SpaceX satellites, and more tech news today

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Wednesday, April 29. 

1. New: Google Pixel Buds 2020, $179, good but not best

If you’ve spotted a train of Space X satellites orbiting overhead they’re a rather marvelous reminder of what’s above us and what’s possible, while being ominous for night watchers and astronomers alike.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk provided more details about a new plan to mitigate the impact of their Starlink satellite constellation via a sun visor:

  • Musk first mentioned a week ago that SpaceX is fixing it “now” on Twitter.

  • Now he’s revealed the intent to build a visor, as first reported by Space News in an extensive article:

  • Musk said the experimental “VisorSat,” along with a new approach for orienting Starlink satellites as they raise their orbits, should address concerns raised by astronomers that the Starlink constellation could interfere with their observations.

  • “Our objectives, generally, are to make the satellites invisible to the naked eye within a week, and to minimize the impact on astronomy, especially so that we do not saturate observatory detectors and inhibit discoveries,” Musk said.

  • The first approach to reduce satellite visibility was a dark paint job, which helped, but Musk said VisorSat is a better approach: “We found an option that is even better than that, which is basically to give the satellites shades,” he said.

  • The VisorSat approach will block inbound sunlight, so the satellites are shaded: “We have a radio-transparent foam that will deploy nearly upon the satellite being released, and it blocks the sun from reaching the antennas. They’re sun visors, essentially: they flip out and block the sun and prevent reflections.”

  • Musk predicted that the visors would have a “massive effect” on the brightness of the satellites, while not impacting the solar arrays.

  • In addition, the satellites will be oriented to avoid solar panels reflecting sunlight to earth, to reduce the initial optic visibility as new satellites slowly make their way to higher altitudes from launch.

  • SpaceX intends to test the VisorSat system on the next Starlink launch, which could be in as soon as a few weeks, although Musk didn’t confirm a date.

2. Amazfit’s next smartwatch goes for a curved screen wristband-style (Android Authority).

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Android, Gadget, News, Technology

Android, Gadget, News, Technology

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