SpaceX's Starlink program launched an initial sixty satellites on May 23. At least three of these "are no longer in service" and "will passively deorbit." [sciencealert.com] according to a spokesperson for the company.
In other words, the three spacecraft failed and will fall back to Earth, likely within a year because of their relatively low orbit of 273 miles (440 kilometers) above the planet's surface.
SpaceX seems relatively unfazed by the failures, though, since the company never expected all of them to function perfectly given the mission's experimental nature.
SpaceX intentionally implemented the satellites with minor variations.
On a brighter note, 45 of the satellites, which are equipped with small ion engines for maneuvering, have already reached their intended orbits. Five are moving towards their orbits, and five are pending evaluation before maneuvering. Another "[t]wo satellites are being intentionally deorbited to simulate an end of life disposal."
[N]ow that the majority of the satellites have reached their operational altitude, SpaceX will begin using the constellation to start transmitting broadband signals, testing the latency and capacity by streaming videos and playing some high bandwidth video games using gateways throughout North America.
The Starlink program was stung by early comments that the program was negatively affecting astronomy [businessinsider.com.au] and SpaceX
added that it "continues to monitor the visibility of the satellites as they approach their final orbit" and that they will be measured for their visibility from the ground once there. Those comments are likely meant to address concerns lodged by astronomers about the reflectivity of Starlink spacecraft
The satellites are designed to completely disintegrate upon entering Earth's atmosphere, and the failures may help drive future iterations.
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SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites: Postponed 1 Day Due to Upper Altitude Winds [UPDATE 2] [soylentnews.org]
SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites at Once, and More [soylentnews.org]
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