The SpaceX probe is said to have entered Earth’s atmosphere earlier today, with experts saying it will likely burn up soon. The UK Space Agency say there is a “low chance” that Starlink-1855 will burn up over the UK. They are now working with the MOD to track its progress.
The UK Space Agency wrote on Twitter: “A Starlink satellite re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere earlier today, with a low chance it may burn up over the UK very shortly.
“We are monitoring its re-entry together with the MOD and there is no expectation the re-entry will cause any damage.”
Jake Geer, the Head of Space Surveillance and Tracking at the UK Space Agency added: “Today a Starlink-1855 satellite re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
“There is a low chance it will re-enter over the UK at around 12:18, and you might be able to spot the satellite as it burns up.”
“Starlink has a fantastic track record of orchestrating safe and reliable re-entries and we don’t expect this satellite to cause any damage.
“Still, the UK Space Agency and Ministry of Defence continually monitor and assess re-entries of satellites and debris and any risks to British Territories through our joint Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) capabilities.”
The UK Space Agency added that there is “always high levels of uncertainty” when performing re-entry manoeuvres due to the varying input data, natural forces and associated observation error.
Starlink is a network of 1,600 satellites launched by Mr Musk’s company SpaceX – designed to bring internet connectivity to hard to reach areas of the globe.
The UK closely monitors a range of activities in space, including satellites, space debris and returning rocket launchers, through our joint Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) capabilities.
SST uses sensors, usually radars, telescopes, and laser-ranging systems, to provide tracking data to reduce orbital hazards.
The most dangerous events we track are collisions in space between objects, but we also monitor and predict atmospheric re-entries of objects like this rocket body.
In most re-entries nothing of the object survives to reach the ground as it burns up harmlessly in the atmosphere.
Re-entry locations and timing are typically difficult to predict as characteristics of the satellite, such as its attitude (the direction it’s pointing in), size and mass along with a changeable atmospheric density can have large impacts on the accuracy of analysis.
In recent years, more than 10 low earth orbit (LEO) satellite projects have surfaced, with Mr Musk’s leading the pack.
The tech giant recently tweeted that Starlink has now shipped 100,000 terminals to users in 14 countries, with license applications pending in several other countries.
Rajeev Suri, the boss of British satellite company Inmarsat, recently claimed there are now too many players in the space market.
He said: “I think that the industry will need consolidation.
“A lot of new money is flooding into the sector.
“A lot of players are willing to invest tens of billions.
“We talk about Starlink, LEO [low-earth orbit] constellations, China is developing a giant constellation as part of its Belt and Road initiative.
“There are too many players and a fragmented market.”