SpaceX Starlink failure rate is about 3 percent now

Posted on Tuesday, October 27 2020 @ 11:51 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
SpaceX has a very ambitious goal to provide low-latency satellite Internet to all parts of the globe. To achieve this, the space launch company needs thousands of small satellites in a very low earth orbit. These satellites are a lot cheaper than traditional communications satellites, but they're also less durable. SpaceX has over 800 Starlink satellites in orbit right now and has plans to hit a total of 42,000 to ensure good global coverage.

In a new article, Phys takes a look at the failure rate of these satellites and the possible concerns associated with this. Estimates point to a current failure rate of 3 percent for the Starlink constellation, which is not that bad. However, one of the concerns is that such a huge constellation will result in a lot of bad space junk:
But every satellite that is incapable of maneuvering due to problems with its communications or its propulsion system creates a collision hazard for other satellites and spacecraft. As McDowell told Business Insider:

"I would say their failure rate is not egregious. It's not worse than anybody else's failure rates. The concern is that even a normal failure rate in such a huge constellation is going to end up with a lot of bad space junk."
The article has more info about concerns and possible mitigation.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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