One of the crew members currently aboard the International Space Station is Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner. Recently he was capturing video of the Earth from the International Space Station. What he intended to capture in his timelapse video was the beautiful auroras that you can see from the station.
However, he also captured something else on the video that he called “space guests.” In the early section of the video, you can briefly see five very bright lights on the horizon that appeared to show up and disappear quickly. Most likely, the lights, arrayed in nearly a straight line, are a few of the Starlink satellites that SpaceX launched on August 18.
While the lights certainly look like other images we’ve seen of Starlink satellites, at this time, they haven’t been identified. Vagner wondered if they were meteors or satellites, we certainly think it’s the latter. The cosmonaut did tell Roscosmos about the objects with officials from the space agency retweeting the video, calling it an interesting and mysterious.
Roscosmos Spokesperson Vladimir Ustimenko issued a statement saying that it was too early to make conclusions until researchers and scientists from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences tells says what they think. We will certainly wait for the official answer, but SpaceX has been heavily criticized because of the brightness of its satellites fouling images taken from Earth-based telescopes.
We’d wager the company will end up taking criticism for its extremely bright satellites causing problems with videos and images taken from the ISS. SpaceX has been testing various methods to reduce the brightness of its satellites, but it’s unclear if its attempts are working.