Local

SpaceX satellite falls out of orbit after solar storm

blank

CAPE CANAVERAL (AP)

SpaceX’s newest fleet of satellites is tumbling out of orbit after being hit by a solar storm.

As many as 40 of the 49 small satellites launched last week have either re-entered the atmosphere and burned up, or are on the verge of becoming operational, the company said in an online update Tuesday night.

SpaceX said a geomagnetic storm last Friday made the atmosphere denser, which increased drag on the Starlink satellites, effectively reducing them.

Ground controllers have tried to save the compact, flat-screen satellites by putting them into hibernation and flying them in a way to minimize drag. But the pull of the atmosphere was too great, and the satellites were unable to awaken and climb to higher, more stable orbits, according to the company.

SpaceX still has nearly 2,000 Starlink satellites orbiting Earth and providing internet service to remote corners of the world. They orbit the globe more than 340 miles (550 km).

The satellites hit by the solar storm were in temporary positions. SpaceX intentionally launched them into this unusually low orbit so that any dents could quickly re-enter the atmosphere and pose no threat to other spacecraft.

According to the company, there is no danger from these newly dropped satellites, either in orbit or on the ground.

Each satellite weighs less than 575 pounds (260 kg).

SpaceX describes the lost satellites as a “unique situation.” Such geomagnetic storms are caused by intense solar activity resembling flares, which can send plumes of plasma from the sun’s corona into space and toward Earth.

Since launching the first Starlink satellite in 2019, Elon Musk has envisioned a constellation of thousands of other satellites to enhance internet service. SpaceX is trying to help restore internet service to Tonga through this network after the volcanic eruption and devastating tsunami.

London-based OneWeb has its own internet satellites there. And Amazon plans to start launching its satellite later this year.

Astronomers are very worried that these massive constellations will disrupt nighttime observations from Earth. The International Astronomical Union is establishing a new center to protect the dark skies.

Copyright 2022 Fort Myers Broadcasting Company. Copyright Registered. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent.

https://www.winknews.com/2022/02/09/spacex-satellites-falling-out-of-orbit-after-solar-storm/ SpaceX satellite falls out of orbit after solar storm

Tom Vazquez

USTimeToday is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@ustimetoday.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button