Celestrak has an updated system of categories for retrieving lists of current TLEs, and there's already one for Starlink, yay!

Currently https://celestrak.org/NORAD/elements/starlink.txt contains 64 objects from the 2019-029 SpaceX Starlink launch, from OBJECT A, 44235U, 19029A to FALCON 9 DEB, 44298U, 19029BR, which appears to be the 60 Starlink satellites plus 4 debris objects from the same launch.

Question: What are these four debris objects? Are any of them the 2nd stage?

Celestrak's TLE groups click for full size or go to Celestrak elements

TLE eccentricity value versus estimated altitude from mean motion as explained here. Four big blobs around 435 to 440 km are the four debris objects.

plotted using https://pastebin.com/cFLhTJVq

"Starlink 60" plus debris June 1 and 29, 2019


1 Answer 1


They probably were part of the support and hold-down structure of the satellite stack.
You can see them in green on each side of the stack in this picture (Credit to Origin_of_mind on reddit):

enter image description here

They were probably jettisoned shortly before the deployment of the satellites. This also seems to be consistent with the optical characteristics (see here)
A more detailed discussion can be found here .


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