SpaceX Update on Status of 60 Starlink Satellites

60 Starlink satellites begin to separate after deployment from the Falcon 9 second stage. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX Statement
May 31, 2019

We continue to track the progress of the Starlink satellites during early orbit operations. At this point, all 60 satellites have deployed their solar arrays successfully, generated positive power and communicated with our ground stations.

Most are already using their onboard propulsion system to reach their operational altitude and have made initial contact using broadband phased array antennas.

SpaceX continues to monitor the constellation for any satellites that may need to be safely deorbited. All the satellites have maneuvering ability and are programmed to avoid each other and other objects in orbit by a wide margin.

Also, please note that the observability of Starlink satellites is dramatically reduced as they raise orbit to greater distance and orient themselves with their phase array antennas toward Earth and their solar arrays behind the body of the satellite.

Editor’s Note: During a talk at MIT earlier this week, President Gwynne Shotwell said 56 satellites were performing as expected and that four had problems. She did not elaborate on the nature of the problems.

  • TheBrett

    Also, please note that the observability of Starlink satellites is dramatically reduced as they raise orbit to greater distance and orient themselves with their phase array antennas toward Earth and their solar arrays behind the body of the satellite.

    That’s good to know.

  • Zed_WEASEL

    Read online that the 4 misbehaving Starlink comsats was spinning after deployment. Took a while to stabilized with onboard reaction wheels. All 60 satcoms appears to be operational if they all deployed their solar array.

  • Robert G. Oler

    If they got 56 out of 4 that is still pretty good…excellent in fact..

  • Kirk

    I wonder how rapidly a Starlink satellite’s magnetorquer can desaturate its reaction wheels. As long as deployment angular momentum didn’t overwhelm the capacity of the reaction wheels, I’d expect stabilization to take only minutes, but beyond that point, the magnetorquer could take days to do the job.

  • ThomasLMatula

    It is also a bit early to tell if the 4 with problems need to be de-orbited.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Hopefully they get them all