In late February, SpaceX, the space internet operator of Starlink, sent up a first batch of satellites of a new type they had developed. The new satellites are called “V2 Mini” and are slightly smaller than the satellites that make up the rest of their satellite network. Now it seems that some of the new satellites are not working quite as intended.
In total, SpaceX sent up 21 V2 Mini satellites with a Falcon 9 rocket at the end of February, and some of the satellites’ orbit has already started to decay, according to several observers. One of the satellites has already entered Earth’s atmosphere and burned up. SpaceX has not yet commented on several of their V2 Mini satellites losing altitude, but the company’s founder, Elon Musk, wrote on Twitter last month that they planned to let some of the satellites fall into Earth’s atmosphere under controlled conditions:
Lot of new technology in Starlink V2, so we’re experiencing some issues, as expected.
Some sats will be deorbited, others will be tested thoroughly before raising altitude above Space Station.
SpaceX had plans to launch another batch of V2 Mini satellites last month, but it seems to have been cancelled.
Starlink’s V2 Mini satellites are intended to serve as a complement to Starlink’s traditional satellites until they can send up a new generation of satellites to their network. However, these satellites are designed to be launched with SpaceX’s giant rocket, Starship. That means they probably won’t be able to be used until Starship starts making regular flights to space, which is still unclear when it can happen.