SpaceX reportedly lost 40 Starlink internet satellites in low orbit after they were hit by an unexpected geomagnetic storm.
The satellites were deployed last Thursday, Feb. 3. Two days later, a solar storm destroyed them.
Starlink Satellites Encountered a Geomagnetic Storm
(Photo : MARIANA SUAREZ/AFP via Getty Images)
According to a report by The Verge, the geomagnetic storm has prevented the Starlink satellites from going to the orbit surrounding the Earth. It was also mentioned in the article that the latest drag was 50% higher compared to what they experienced in the past.
To address the issue, Starlink came up with the idea of decreasing the drag by allowing the satellites to fly like a sheet of paper.
However, the plan did not go as expected. Instead of going to their orbits, 40 out of 49 space machines have exploded upon hitting the atmosphere of the Earth.
For this year, SpaceX also noted that 12,000 satellites will be released. It could still exceed in numbers so we never know the actual count of them.
Apparently, the 40 internet satellites that got destroyed were still considered to be a small deal for the company. However, given the recent event that arose, SpaceX could be preparing for more Starlink satellites that will be set ablaze in the atmosphere.
SpaceX assured that the satellites will not collide with one another. In addition, no debris or parts will reach the grounds thanks to the on-orbit debris mitigation technology of the firm.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal wrote in another story that the Starlink satellites obscured the vision of astronomers when viewing the open space. These machines were reportedly “photobombing” astronomy images, according to a study.
For scientists, this incident could hinder their exploration of the dangerous asteroids in the galaxy. To put an end to this issue, the astronomers decided to create a “Center for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference.”
How Dangerous is a Geomagnetic Storm
Back in July 2021, Tech Times reported that a geomagnetic storm or solar storm can disrupt communication lines on Earth. It will render mobile signals useless not to mention its impact on satellite TVs and GPS.
Imagine a storm that is filled with charged particles. Now you can envision what the geomagnetic storm looks like.
While it’s not that dangerous for people, it can bring billions of damage to power transmission systems. The operating satellites and power grids will be the most affected during this event.
SpaceX Restored Internet in Tonga
In another report by Interesting Engineering, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk offered help for Tonga island. After an underground volcano erupted, a tsunami has affected the “undersea” cable and even the entire internet connection across the region.
Despite the challenge in installing the internet because of insufficient satellites with laser links, SpaceX employees will extend help to restore the lost internet service in Tonga.
The team is expected to carry out its mission for six months in Fiji. They will construct a Starlink Gateway station that will reconnect Tonga to the world once again.
Meanwhile, the alignment for James Webb Space Telescope mirrors will now start after the space observatory snapped the first starlight using NIRCam, per Tech Times.
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Written by Joseph Henry
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