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SpaceX Satellites Fall Out Of Orbit

SpaceX’s latest fleet of satellites are falling out of orbit after being struck by a solar storm.

As many as 40 of the 49 small satellites launched by Elon Musk last week have either burnt up when reentering the atmosphere or are on the brink of it, the company admit.

The problem originated from a geomagnetic storm making the atmosphere denser, increasing the drag on the flat-panel Starlink satellites.

Controllers on Earth tried to put them in a type of hibernation and guide them in a fashion that decreased the drag, but atmospheric pull was too intense.

As such, the satellites didn’t wake to the commands and climb to a higher, more stable orbit, as directed.

SpaceX still has around 2000 Starlink satellites in orbit more than 550km above Earth, providing internet service to far flung corners of the globe.

The satellites effected were in a temporary low orbit position.

SpaceX launch them this way to sort out any fails and send them back through the atmosphere to burn up, so as not to be a threat to other space craft while floating randomly up there.

The company insist there is no threat from the recently decommissioned satellites, either in space or on Earth, and report they weigh less than 260kg.

SpaceX call this a “unique situation”. Geomagnetic storms are caused by intense solar activity, such as flares, which can send streams of plasma from the Sun’s corona through space towards Earth.

Elon Musk’s first Starlink satellites launched in 2019, and he wants to launch thousands more.

Currrently, SpaceX is trying to restore internet service to Tonga after the tragic volcano eruption and subsequent tsunami.

Amazon plan to start launching satellites later this year, though astronomers are concerned mega constellations of human-launched space matter will impair on night observations from Earth.



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