SpaceX Starlink satellites caught on video plummeting to a fiery death

Elon Musk's SpaceX announced that most of its batch of Starlink satellite it launched on February 3 will die a fiery death.

1 minute & 17 seconds read time

SpaceX recently announced that the majority of the batch of Starlink satellites launched on February 3 will die in fiery death as they reenter Earth's atmosphere.

According to Elon Musk's company, 40 of the 49 Starlink satellites that were launched on February 3 were interrupted by a geomagnetic storm in Earth's upper atmosphere on February 4 that caused unexpected atmospheric density that resulted in "atmospheric drag" on the satellites. This "atmospheric drag" caused the satellites to fail to reach their intended altitude and plummet back down to Earth for fiery deaths.

The event was caught on video by the Sociedad de Astronomia del Caribe, and it shows the satellite debris burning up in the atmosphere upon reentry over Puerto Rico on February 7. As SpaceX has previously stated, Starlink satellites are designed to burn up completely upon reentry, meaning none of the debris would reach Earth's surface.

"One clue is that the orbital plane of this launch was over Puerto Rico near the time of the event, and the direction of movement (SW-NE) matches it."

"To get even more certainty, I did some astrometry on the footage and fitted a rough circular orbit to the measured positions.The rough orbital fit I get - I measured three fragments - yield[s] orbital inclinations in the range of 54-56 degrees: Starlink satellites are in 53.2-degree inclined orbits, so this is close enough (given the error margin) to conclude that the reentering object fits with the Starlink orbital plane. So there is very little doubt that this was a Starlink satellite reentering," said Marco Langbroek, a satellite tracker based in the Netherlands

SpaceX Starlink satellites caught on video plummeting to a fiery death 01
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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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