May 22, 2024

Security measure: SpaceX disables 100 Starlink satellites

Every month, SpaceX launches hundreds of new Starlink satellites into space.

picture:
imago

Fearing they would cause problems in the future, SpaceX deliberately shot down 100 satellites that were still fully operational.

no time? Blue News sums it up for you

  • 100 Starlink satellites will die prematurely.
  • The SpaceX operator has discovered a problem with internet satellites and wants to destroy them while they are still manageable.
  • However, the company will be able to handle the loss since there are currently more than 5,000 Starlink satellites in space.

SpaceX has announced that it will allow about 100 of its Starlink satellites to burn up in the atmosphere in a controlled manner over the next six months. These are the first generation of satellites used to power global internet access, most of which were launched into orbit in 2019 and 2020.

The affected satellites are currently still fully maneuverable and ready for use, according to SpaceX. But an unspecified “problem” has been discovered that increases the “probability” of failure in the future. Out of an abundance of caution, the decision was made to carry out a targeted crash while the satellites were still controllable, according to Elon Musk.

The satellites are scheduled to be landed piece by piece in the coming months. This would be safer than sending them straight back to Earth at full power. The satellites will still burn up completely in the atmosphere.

This is not the first satellite loss

SpaceX will easily be able to handle the loss of about 100 Starlink satellites. The constellation currently consists of more than 5,400 satellites, with approximately 200 satellites being added every month. SpaceX is by far the largest satellite operator in the world.

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In addition, the company has already managed to absorb an unexpected loss. In February 2022, 38 Starlink satellites crashed again immediately after launch.

During this time, the satellites were exposed to the effects of a solar storm and were never able to reach the planned altitude. It later turned out that SpaceX didn't take the cosmic weather report seriously enough, and thus sent its own satellites to their doom.