Starlink is the next-generation satellite network that aims to provide low-cost superfast Internet access for everyone on Planet Earth. The total cost for the Starlink project is estimated at around $10 billion. The network in the final state will need 12,000 satellites to be launched.
And what happened to the other satellites?
Here is the SpaceX project:
- 45 satellites have reached the orbit of 550KM by activating the electric propulsion systems
- 5 of the rest are still reaching their target orbit
- 5 other satellites are in a test phase before rising to the final altitude
- 2 satellites were deliberately de-orbited just to test final de-orbiting process
Therefore, only 3 out of 60 satellites (5%) are lost in the mission. The network will, however, be made up of thousands of Starlinks once it is completed (the plan is 12,000 units over the next few years).
The malfunctioning satellites will not leave any orbital debris (space junk). This is one of the fundamental requirements for this kind of mission set by the Federal Communications Commission.