Geomagnetic storm burns up to 40 of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Satellites sent in orbit last week, according to SpaceX.
49 satellites were launched on Feb 3 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida intended to orbit 130 miles above Earth. Unfortunately, the moderate geomagnetic storm caused by solar flare over the weekend made the northern lights visible to people in the northern part of the U.S.
Geomagnetic storms occur when there is a large exchange of energy from solar winds that enter the space surrounding the Earth, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center.
There was a 50% increase in the atmospheric drag that earlier launches due to the storm. The Starlink team tried to deploy safe mode for the satellites to take cover from the storm, though there was too much drag from the storm that prevented more than 80% of the satellites from reaching their destination.
The destroyed 40 satellites will burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, pose zero collision risk with other satellites and no parts will hit the ground. In an effort to expand broadband internet service to rural and remote communities, SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 Starlink satellites into orbit.
According to the update, “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.”