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Back in May 23rd, 2019, SpaceX launched the first batch of its Starlink constellation, a fleet of satellites that will fulfill Elon Musk’s promise to provide broadband satellite-internet access to the entire planet. The deployment of these sixty satellites was the first in a series of six planned launches that would see around 720 satellites orbiting at an operational altitude of 550 km (340 mi).
Over the course of the past month, SpaceX announced that all sixty of the satellites were responsive, but recently indicated that contact had been lost with three of them. According to a statement issued by a company spokesperson on June 28th, these three satellites pose no danger as they will deorbit “passively” and burn up in the atmosphere.
Batch - May - Altitude - Km - Mi
When the first batch was launched in May, they were brought to an altitude of 440 km (273 mi) before powering up their onboard propulsion rockets to raise their orbit to an operational altitude of 550 km (340 mi). After deploying from their Falcon 9 launch vehicle, observers noticed that some of the Starlink satellites had not initiated orbit raising.
According to the statement issued by the SpaceX spokesperson, the rest of the satellites are functioning well and almost all of them have successfully reached their operational orbit. In the near future, two will deorbit along with the three non-functioning ones in order to test the satellite’s ability to propulsively deorbit:
Satellites - Ground - Service - Due - Design
“Three satellites which initially communicated with the ground but are no longer in service, will passively deorbit. Due to their design and low orbital position, all five deorbiting satellites will disintegrate once they enter Earth’s atmosphere in support of SpaceX’s commitment to a clean space environment.”
So far, 45 of the satellites have completed raising their orbit, five are still in the process of doing so, and another five are completing...
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