Elon Musk’s SpaceX is one of the leading names in space exploration. With Starlink, the company uses a system of satellites in outer space in order to provide high speed internet to people around the world. SpaceX recently deployed a batch of these satellites, but the majority of them have gone up in smoke – literally. SpaceX has reportedly lost 40 satellites to a geomagnetic storm just one day after they were launched into space.
It was reported by the BBC that 40 SpaceX satellites had been lost following a geomagnetic storm, which was caused by an explosion on the surface of the Sun. This resulted in 40 of the 49 satellites to fall from orbit and burn up in the atmosphere. The satellites were originally launched on February 3, 2022. The geomagnetic storm hit on February 4.
SpaceX gave a statement on the incident, saying that “onboard GPS suggests the escalation speed and severity of the storm caused atmospheric drag to increase up to 50% higher than during previous launches.” The company had initially put the satellites in a safe mode in an attempt to limit the atmospheric drag and its impact, but that wasn’t enough to save them. UK Space Agency Head of Space Surveillance Jacob Geer assured that there’s no expectation that any pieces of the satellites will crash into the earth’s surface. He also added that “events like this are a reminder that space is challenging – getting satellites or astronauts into orbit is still not easy.”
SpaceX’s Starlink has been an ambitious project, and this week’s satellite incident will surely be a setback in making that service accessible to more people around the globe. For more on the ventures of SpaceX, stick with us here on Shacknews.