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Elon Musk's SpaceX to Lose Up to 40 Starlink Satellites After Geomagnetic Storm

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SpaceX reported last night (February 8, 2022) in its Updates area that 40 of the 49 Starlink satellites it launched to low Earth orbit on February 3 are now doomed by a geomagnetic storm.

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Such storms are disturbances in Earth’s magnetic field caused by activity on the sun. The satellites were part of SpaceX’s grand plan to launch thousands of Starlink satellites for global internet access.

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Geomagnetic storms result from explosive events on the sun, called solar flares. These events have the potential to hurtle charged solar particles across space to the Earth.

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The impact causes a geomagnetic storm, an event associated with Earth’s beautiful auroras or northern lights. But these events also cause Earth’s atmosphere to warm and “puff up.”

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Low-orbiting satellites will feel increased atmospheric drag in an atmosphere puffed up during a geomagnetic storm.

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Unfortunately, as detailed by space.com, the most recent satellite deployment was a major bust. The launch went off without a hitch, but the geomagnetic storm—a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere caused by sustained periods of high solar winds

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