If you were lucky enough to see what looked like a string of pearls in the sky over space-obsessed Seattle Tuesday night, you witnessed a small piece of the nation’s growing commercial space economy.
Sixty Starlink satellites were launched from the Kennedy Space Center earlier in the day. On their seventh orbit around Earth around 9:30 p.m. Pacific time, they passed over Western Washington and Central Idaho, according to Jonathon McDowell, an astronomer with the Center for Astrophysics.
The Starlink satellites have connections to SpaceX’s Redmond office. At the Satellite 2021 industry conference last month, SpaceX company president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said there were about 1,320 Starlink satellites in orbit.
Asgardia, a society devoted to the cultivation of life in space, did a survey two years ago and determined that Washington residents are among the nation’s most captivated with celestial events and have witnessed more sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects than any other state in the nation.
“Washington state has a rich history for pioneering space travel and has even been dubbed ‘the Silicon Valley for Space.’ At Asgardia, we have no doubts that many ambitious dreamers from Washington will join us to live amongst the stars,” the society said in a 2019 statement.