Due to a geomagnetic storm, Elon Musk’s SpaceX reported it lost up to 40 Starlink satellites it launched into space last week.
Using a Falcon 9 rocket, the aerospace corporation launched 49 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit on Thursday.
A geomagnetic storm Friday “seriously affected” about 80% of those satellites, SpaceX said in a statement Tuesday.
According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, geomagnetic storms are caused by changes in Earth’s magnetic field and charged particles from the sun, known as solar wind.
According to SpaceX, the storm’s speed and intensity caused the “atmospheric drag” to rise to levels 50 percent higher than in prior flights. Satellites had a harder time reaching their orbital location as a result of this.
Starlink attempted to fly the satellites in “safe mode” to avoid atmospheric drag, but they were unable to reach their objective, according to SpaceX.
According to Musk’s firm, up to 40 satellites will reenter the atmosphere and burn up, with some already having done so.
The afflicted spacecraft would not collide with other satellites when they deorbited, according to SpaceX. There will be no orbital debris, and no satellite parts will fall to Earth, according to SpaceX.
More than 2,000 Starlink satellites have been sent into orbit by SpaceX, with almost 1,900 of them operational.
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