Solar storm KILLED 40 SpaceX satellites! All of them CRASHING into Earth | Tech News

Solar storm KILLED 40 SpaceX satellites today! All of them CRASHING into Earth

Solar storm kills 40 SpaceX satellites before being deployed in a low-Earth orbit. 40 of 49 satellites are re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 00:02 IST
Solar storm
SpaceX launched 49 satellites aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, most of which were rendered useless by the solar storm today. (AP)
Solar storm
SpaceX launched 49 satellites aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, most of which were rendered useless by the solar storm today. (AP)

Solar storm todayhas killed 40 SpaceX satellites! If you want to learn about the harmful side-effects of a solar storm, you should read this. On Friday, a solar storm passed Earth and, in the process, rendered 40 SpaceX satellites dead. SpaceX had launched a total of 49 Starlink satellites on Thursday and were in process to achieve their destined orbits when the solar storm hit. Most of them were not able to achieve the desired orbit, and are now falling back to Earth.

But you don't need to worry about satellites popping out of the sky while you are enjoying a nice sunshine in your backyard. All these satellites will be consumed by the Earth's atmosphere upon re-entry. SpaceX assures that there's no chance of a collision between these satellites and the ones already in orbit. All the debris will burn up in the upper atmosphere of the planet.

Solar storm kills Space satellites

The issue came up due to increased drag created by the solar storm in the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere. “These storms cause the atmosphere to warm and atmospheric density at our low deployment altitudes to increase. In fact, onboard GPS suggests the escalation speed and severity of the storm caused atmospheric drag to increase up to 50 percent higher than during previous launches,” says SpaceX.

The SpaceX team also tried to fly the satellites edge-on to minimise the drag as part of the safe mode operations. However, the drag was high enough to precent the satellites from leaving the safe mode and begin is orbit raising manoeuvres. Hence, some have already re-entered the atmosphere while other are in the process to plummet down to Earth.

However, nine of the satellites are safely deployed and will be joining the Starlink service.

“The deorbiting satellites pose zero collision risk with other satellites and by design demise upon atmospheric re-entry—meaning no orbital debris is created and no satellite parts hit the ground. This unique situation demonstrates the great lengths the Starlink team has gone to ensure the system is on the leading edge of on-orbit debris mitigation,” says SpaceX.

The SpaceX Starlink satellites have been in the news for other reason too. Several astronomers have long complained about these satellites obstructing views of constellations in the night sky with undesired “long streaks”.


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First Published Date: 09 Feb, 12:24 IST