SpaceX Is Planning To Burn 100 Satellites

Once again, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is in the news this time, for its intention to deorbit about 100 of its older Starlink broadband satellites. While “deorbit” may imply a gentle drop, the process really entails guiding these satellites toward a catastrophic end as they burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

As part of its dedication to space sustainability and safety, SpaceX decided to remove these satellites. A “proactive controlled deorbit” is favored over the haphazard orbit ejections that have happened in the past, the business claims. The goal of this project is to safeguard ground personnel, orbiting satellites, and astronauts.

The finding of a “common issue” in this batch of satellites that might cause further failures also had an impact on SpaceX’s decision. To make sure these satellites don’t endanger other spacecraft, SpaceX will keep an eye on them while they are in deorbit. To further avoid possible collisions, the business intends to exchange “uncertainty prediction information” with other satellite operators.

Although this action is a positive step toward responsible space management, it also brings attention to the difficulties of sustaining a sizable constellation of satellites. Ninety-five percent of SpaceX’s Starlink fleet, which now numbers close to 6,000 satellites, had already burned up after 406 satellites had to be deorbited. More than 8% of the fleet will have been retired with the addition of these 100 satellites.

In addition to satellite deorbiting, the Starlink constellation has experienced difficulties with collision avoidance maneuvering. According to reports, in order to avoid collisions in low-Earth orbit, the Starlink satellites had to be shifted more than 24,000 times between June 1 and November 30, 2023.

This development emphasizes how quickly space technology is developing and how important it is to use responsible space management techniques. Businesses like SpaceX, who are expanding the frontiers of space exploration, have to think about how their operations will affect the environment and remain sustainable.

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