SpaceX announced on Monday the decision to remove 100 first-generation Starlink satellites from orbit due to a potential defect that could at some point lead to their complete failure, the resource writes. PCMag. Although the satellites continue to function, the company decided to remove them from orbit due to the risk of losing further control over them in the event of a complete equipment failure.
The company did not specify what kind of defect we are talking about. SpaceX said in a statement that “The Starlink team has identified a common problem in this small group of satellites that could increase the likelihood of failure in the future.”
SpaceX also said that the loss of 100 satellites will not affect the quality of service for Starlink customers, since the network as a whole has more than 5,400 functioning satellites.
Also, the deactivation of satellites does not pose a threat to the population, since they will burn up in dense layers of the atmosphere during descent. “Starlink satellites are also fully decommissionable by design, meaning that the risk to those on the ground, in the air or at sea from a deorbiting satellite is virtually zero as satellites burn up during re-entry. atmosphere”, — stated in a statement from SpaceX.
The company also said that the Starlink network is designed to be risk-free in space. All satellites are equipped with the system “autonomous collision avoidance” as well as ion engines, which allows them to maneuver in Earth orbit. According to calculations, after about five years of operation, the Starlink satellite will leave orbit and burn up in the atmosphere, even if it loses the ability to perform maneuvers.