Industry Insights

Hundreds of Elon Musk’s Satellites Went Missing

Over 200 satellites owned by the internet service provider, Starlink, which is a satellite internet system, have strangely disappeared this summer, most likely because of electromagnetic storms. This demonstrates that the current satellite is not very resilient and the set-up, which could have 10,000 units of satellites, could have been in orbit within a few years’ time.

During the summer between July 18 and September 18, 2023, 212 Starlink satellites went missing, according to the data from, which is based on public tracking information. The satellites that have failed to show signs of life are actually not the first time that it has happened, but this is the first time the number of missing satellites has spiked. Despite the large number of satellites that went missing, SpaceX has not yet made a public statement to announce their disappearance. Hence, nobody apart from them knows what happened to them.

Most likely, the disappearance of satellites makes them the victims of electromagnetic storms caused by strong solar flares erupted by the sun. The satellites have their own life cycle, which is designed and estimated to burn around every 5 years. However, in February 2022, for example, 40 satellites were lost just after launch due to an electromagnetic storm. While internet connectivity could be a concern for Starlink users due to the missing satellites, it might not directly impact the internet as a whole.

SpaceX has previously launched more than 4,000 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit, minimizing the lag in internet connectivity when data is transferred to the receiver. Starlink, the internet service provider, is mainly aimed at users in more remote areas and its ultimate goal is to have the entire world with a high-speed internet access to anyone, everywhere.

Starlink is now used by more than a million people worldwide, and it just added capability for moving vehicles like cars, vans, and school buses. Even on airplanes, the operator hopes to someday be able to provide dependable, high-speed connections.—AFP Relaxnews and The Star

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