Elon Musk's SpaceX has already lost contact with three of its Starlink satellites

SpaceX has already lost contact with three of the 60 Starlink satellites it put into orbit around the Earth in May. The satellites are part of a plan by billionaire Elon Musk's company to provide cheap and reliable internet access worldwide. They will eventually form part of a super-constellation of close to 12,000 satellites. However, three of the satellites have lost contact with ground control teams.

They will now deorbit passively, according to a SpaceX spokesperson, which means Earth's gravity and atmospheric drag will pull them down until they burn up in the atmosphere. 

SpaceX's said it also plans to take two functioning satellites out of action, in order to test the spacecraft's ability to propulsively deorbit. Three satellites that initially communicated with the ground but are no longer in service will passively deorbit. Due to their design and low orbital position, all five deorbiting satellites will disintegrate once they enter Earth's atmosphere in support of SpaceX's commitment to a clean space environment. 45 of the 60 Starlink satellites have reached their target altitude.

Another five are in the process of orbit raising, and the last five are completing check-outs before also orbit raising SpaceX founder Elon Musk has previously stressed that the early Starlink satellites have a high risk of not working, given the quantity of newly developed technology they carry.

He said, it's possible that some of these satellites may not work, and in fact [there's a] small possibility that all of the satellites will not work. But these are a great design and we've done everything we can to maximize the probability of success. The potential for multiple large satellite constellations to adversely affect both each other and the study of the cosmos is becoming increasingly apparent.

The warning came after the sight of the satellites flying in formation sparked fears of an alien invasion.

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