Destroyed Starlink Satellites Caught On Video As They Burn Up In The Sky

A new video emerged, showing the sad and yet spectacular demise of some of the 40 Starlink satellites that were recently destroyed in a geomagnetic storm. We reported that SpaceX announced the loss of up to 40 satellites out of 49 and that these units would be entering the Earth's atmosphere in order to meet their demise. Some of these satellites were most probably caught on video as they burned up in the skies over Puerto Rico (as shown below). 

Although SpaceX is yet to confirm whether the video truly shows its own satellites, experts analyzed the trajectory and concluded that these are most likely the unfortunate Starlink satellites re-entering the atmosphere and being destroyed upon entry. According to Sociedad de Astronomia del Caribe, it's clear from the video that what we're seeing is space debris and not a meteor. In addition, Dr. Marco Langrboeg, an expert from the Netherlands, confirmed to SAC that the inclination of the debris coincides with that of the recently launched Starlinks.

The SpaceX Starlink satellites launched abroad the Falcon 9 on February 3, 2022, and were struck by a geomagnetic storm just one day later. Although Starlink engineers tried to salvage them, the vast majority of satellites was damaged by the storm. SpaceX confirmed that the location of these satellites was greatly impacted, and that they would be disintegrating upon re-entry.

More satellites may be seen in the next few days

The lost Starlink satellites are quite heavy — they weigh 573 pounds and measure 10.5 feet x 5.25 feet. However, upon entering the Earth's atmosphere, they are destroyed and SpaceX doesn't expect any debris to make it to the surface of the planet. However, when seen on video, the satellite's demise is impressive to look at. It shows a series of what appears to be missiles or shooting stars traveling through the sky. 

The video shows an object as it disintegrates in the atmosphere on February 7 around 2:39 a.m. local time. A minute later, at 2:40 a.m., a much bigger explosion is seen in the sky. The object is very fragmented, which further indicates that we're seeing space debris and not something that occurs naturally, such as a small meteor.

If SpaceX has indeed lost 40 satellites out of 49, we are likely to keep seeing reports of these Starlink units burning up in the skies. There is no telling when, or where, they might appear. The storm took place on February 4, and since then, the satellites are regarded as lost by SpaceX. They will, undoubtedly, eventually be pulled back down to Earth and disintegrate if they are still somewhere in orbit.