At least 40 SpaceX Starlink satellites lost due to a geomagnetic storm
Category: #headline  By Mateen Dalal  Date: 2022-02-10
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At least 40 SpaceX Starlink satellites lost due to a geomagnetic storm

According to SpaceX, a geomagnetic storm that occurred a day after the launch of Starlink internet satellites on February 3rd has had some devastating effects. The company stated that up to 40 satellites will re-enter or have already entered the atmosphere.

The USGS has defined geomagnetic storms to be periods of rapid magnetic field change that are often generated by a significant surge of solar winds.

Electronics and satellites in orbit may be damaged by these storms. It warmed up the atmosphere in this case, causing atmospheric drag to increase by up to 50% as compared to earlier launches.

According to SpaceX, the Starlink crew tried to save the recently deployed satellites by activating their safe mode, which changes their velocity so that they fly edge on like a sheet of paper, reducing drag. The satellites were unable to leave safe mode due to the increased drag.

SpaceX also claims that the deorbiting satellites have no collision risks and will completely burn up as they re-enter the atmosphere, leaving no orbital trash behind. It is unlikely that any satellite components will fall to Earth.

The business noted in their release that this unique situation highlights the considerable lengths the Starlink team has gone to ensure that the system is highly efficient in terms of on-orbit debris mitigation.

For those unaware, SpaceX had launched nearly 2,000 Starlink satellites for its first-generation network since January. Launches using Starlink satellites as payload have grown commonplace for the company. The satellites will be even more prevalent if the company receives a license to form a second constellation with up to 30,000 satellites.

It is worth mentioning here that mega-constellations have become a major threat to astronomical studies.  In 2020, SpaceX installed sunshades on its Starlink satellites to reduce their brightness. According to Sky & Telescope, the satellites appear to be fainter now, but telescopes may still see them.

Source Credits:

https://techcrunch.com/2022/02/09/spacex-loses-40-starlink-satellites-to-a-geomagnetic-storm/

About Author

Mateen Dalal    

Mateen Dalal

Despite working as a professional testing engineer, Mateen Dalal always held a liking for content creation. Following his passion, he now pens down articles for itresearchbrief.com and a couple of similar portals. Mateen is a qualified electronics and telecommunicat...

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