The first satellite of the constellation Starlink burned in the atmosphere of the Earth. This is the intended action

Source: SpaceX

Since mid-May 2019, over 200 satellites of the Starlink constellation built by SpaceX have already been in low Earth orbit. In the coming years, Elon Musk plans to send 60 more satellites on average every two weeks.

But what to do if one of the satellites is already suitable for exchange? February 20 this year SpaceX pulled one of the satellites back into Earth's atmosphere.

Of the first sixty satellites launched into orbit last year, some were intended for testing from the beginning. One of them, the Starlink 1-46 satellite, initially rose to the target orbit at an altitude of 550 km above the Earth's surface. In July 2019, the satellite's orbit was lowered to 370 km, where it spent the next several months.

In December, the Starlink satellite began a series of short alternate maneuvers for increasing and decreasing altitude.

Finally, February 20 this year. the satellite entered the upper atmosphere of the Earth where it burned long before reaching the Earth's surface. The satellite was last recorded at an altitude of 180 km above the Earth's surface.

Deorbitation tests are especially important for projects such as Starlink, in which not five or ten satellites will be sent into orbit, but entire thousands (currently plans assume that SpaceX will send up to 40,000 satellites to orbit). The ability to perform maneuvers to avoid collisions with other satellites and the ability to direct the satellite to the Earth's atmosphere for disposal are a key safety element for the entire system.

The first satellite of the constellation Starlink burned in the atmosphere of the Earth. This is the intended action


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