Space weather issues to satellites

Space had too harsh weather conditions for recent Starlink communications satellite update.

40 Starlink satellites doomed: SpaceX reported last night that 40 of the 49 Starlink satellites launched to low Earth orbit on February 3 are now doomed by a geomagnetic storm. SpaceX said: “The satellites deployed on Thursday were significantly impacted by a geomagnetic storm on Friday … Preliminary analyses show the increased drag at the low altitudes prevented the satellites from leaving safe-mode to begin orbit raising maneuvers … up to 40 of the satellites will reenter or already have reentered the Earth’s atmosphere.”
It seems that those 40 satellites are burning up on re-entry.

Preliminary analysis show the increased drag at the low altitudes prevented the satellites from leaving safe-mode to begin orbit raising maneuvers, and up to 40 of the satellites will reenter or already have reentered the Earth’s atmosphere. The deorbiting satellites pose zero collision risk with other satellites and by design demise upon atmospheric reentry—meaning no orbital debris is created and no satellite parts hit the ground.

SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 Starlink satellites since 2018, and has plans to launch a total of at least 12,000 as part of a plan to offer high-speed satellite internet across the globe.

Read more:

A geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth’s magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth. These storms result from variations in the solar wind that produces major changes in the currents, plasmas, and fields in Earth’s magnetosphere. During storms, the currents in the ionosphere, as well as the energetic particles that precipitate into the ionosphere add energy in the form of heat that can increase the density and distribution of density in the upper atmosphere, causing extra drag on satellites in low-earth orbit. A geomagnetic storm can also modify the path of radio signals and create errors in the positioning information provided by GPS and disturb other satellite communications. A very strong geomagnetic storm can also cause problems to electrical power distribution networks because of the (nearly direct) currents induced in the power transmission lines from geomagnetic storms can be harmful to electrical transmission equipment, especially transformers.

Read more about geomagnetic storms:


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kessler Syndrome and the space debris problem
    By Mike Wall published November 15, 2021

    This feared space-junk cascade called Kessler Syndrome may have already begun.

  2. geometry dash says:

    This article is great. I like it very much. Thank you!

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Earth is set to be hit by a fresh solar eruption on Wednesday and Thursday, that could trigger a geomagnetic storm, researchers have said. This comes just a week after a similar moderate geomagnetic storm was triggered by the powerful eruptions hurtled by the Sun towards the Earth

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NASA has written a letter to the US federal government raising concerns about SpaceX’s proposed second-generation Starlink mega-constellation of 30,000 satellites.

    In the five-page page letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), NASA argues that SpaceX’s plans to fill the skies with thousands more Starlink satellites could lead to a “significant increase” in potential collisions in low Earth orbit, as well as interfere with their science and human spaceflight missions.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    If you need evidence that our outwardly peaceful little neck of the solar system is actually a dangerous place, look no further than the 40 newly launched Starlink satellites that were just clobbered out of orbit. It seems that the SpaceX launch on February 3 was ill-timed, as it coincided with the arrival of energetic plasma from a solar storm that occurred a few days before. The coronal mass ejection followed an M-class flare on the Sun, which was aimed just right to hit just as the 49-satellite addition to the Starlink constellation was being released. This resulted in an expansion of the upper atmosphere sufficient to increase drag on the newborn satellites — up to 50% more drag than previous launches had encountered. Operators put the satellites into safe mode, but it appears that 40 of them have already met a fiery demise, or soon will. Space is a tough place to make a living.

    SpaceX says a geomagnetic storm just doomed 40 Starlink internet satellites
    By Tariq Malik published 5 days ago
    The satellites launched on Feb. 3, only to be hit by the storm a day later.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    SpaceX Loses 40 Satellites To Solar Storm

    SpaceX were caught by surprise when their latest batch of 49 Starlink Satellites launched into low Earth orbit with much higher atmospheric drag then they expected as a result of high solar actitivity. This drag has ultimately resulted in the satellites being unable to gain altitude and reach their deployment orbit.

    I used to wonder how likely it is for Starlink to get wiped out by a massive solar flare but I never thought about some passive effects like that.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Thousands of Britons facing internet BLACKOUT as Musk’s satellites in ‘critical’ state

    ELON MUSK’s satellite company, Starlink, is facing outages, as a “critical” warning has been issued for London.

    The warning was issued at 6:56am by Fingerpick Internet Alert. They reported thatcher a “critical” internet outage was “ongoing” for Starlink in England. The issue is said to have started at 12:50am, with London impacted.

    It is not yet clear what the source of the problem is, but Ofgem estimates there are around 27,000 homes and businesses in the UK that rely on satellite broadband.

    To date, SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 satellites for its Starlink network. 

    Mr Musk began rolling out its internet service to customers last year, and now has approximately 145,000 users in 25 countries worldwide.

    Starlink is available to order in more than six counties and recently rolled out its “Better Than Nothing Beta” test.

    It costs $99 (£73) a month, plus (£366) $499 for a kit with a tripod, a WiFi router, and a terminal to connect to the Starlink satellites.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Solar Storms Can Cause Train Delays In The UK, Scientists Say
    Moments of intense Sun activity can affect the signaling systems of UK trains and cause delays.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Planeetan kokoinen auringonpilkku kasvoi kymmenkertaiseksi kahdessa päivässä – Se osoittaa suoraan kohti Maata
    Pekka Numminen25.8.202213:59|päivitetty26.8.202214:58AVARUUS
    Lähipäivinä luvassa saattaa olla ”huonoja kelejä”.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Solar Flare Quiets A Quarter Of The Globe

    In the “old” days, people were used to the idea that radio communication isn’t always perfect. AM radio had cracks and pops and if you had to make a call with a radiophone, you expected it to be unreliable and maybe even impossible at a given time. Modern technology, satellites, and a host of other things have changed and now radio is usually super reliable and high-fidelity. Usually. However, a magnitude 7.9 solar flare this week reminded radio users in Africa and the Middle East that radio isn’t always going to get through. At least for about an hour.

    It happened at around 10 AM GMT when that part of the world was facing the sun. Apparently, a coronal mass ejection accompanied the flare, so more electromagnetic disruption may be on its way.

    A massive solar flare knocked out radio in Africa and the Middle East Friday
    By Tereza Pultarova
    published 4 days ago
    The M8 flare erupted from an active sunspot on Friday morning (Sept. 16).

    An active sunspot that is just about to exit the visible disk of the sun shot its parting flare at Earth, causing a radio blackout in Africa and the Middle East Friday morning (Sept. 16).

    The solar flare, classified as M8 in the second-most energetic category of flares, departed from the sun at 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT) on Friday, disrupting shortwave radio communications in the sun-facing parts of the world. According to (opens in new tab), amateur radio operators in Africa and the Middle East could have experienced signal distortion for up to one hour after the flare.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Valtava aurinkomyrsky repi reiän Maan magneettikenttään – Norjassa nähtiin äärimmäisen harvinaiset vaaleanpunaiset revontulet
    Antti Kailio10.11.202210:43|päivitetty11.11.202214:33AVARUUSTIEDEMATKAILU
    Kun aurinkotuuli pääsee kosketuksiin ilmakehän alaosan typen kanssa, revontulien väri muuttuu.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    SpaceX Starlink satellites had to make 25,000 collision-avoidance maneuvers in just 6 months — and it will only get worse
    By Tereza Pultarova published 8 days ago
    Since the launch of the first Starlink spacecraft in 2019, the SpaceX satellites have been forced to move over 50,000 times to prevent collisions.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Pandemiaan verrattava uhka vaanii taivaalla – Asiantuntija: ”Vain ajan kysymys”
    Huoltovarmuuskeskuksen johtava varautumisasiantuntija Tapio Tourula sanoo, että voimakas aurinkomyrsky voisi lamauttaa koko globaalin järjestelmän.

    Erittäin voimakkaan aurinkomyrskyn iskeminen maapallolle on vain ajan kysymys, sanoo Huoltovarmuuskeskuksen johtava varautumisasiantuntija Tapio Tourula.

    Hän toteaa, että sen seuraukset voivat olla sähköistyneelle, modernille yhteiskunnalle dramaattiset, jopa lamauttavat.

    Tourulan mukaan Suomessa varautuminen on hyvällä tasolla, mutta Suomi ei ole irrallaan muusta maailmasta.

    Voimakkaan aurinkomyrskyn vaikutukset voisivat ulottua hyvin laajalle alueelle ja silloin uhkana on maailmanlaajuisesti nyky-yhteiskunnille keskeisen tärkeiden järjestelmien kaatuminen.

    – Kun ei panna tätä koko sotkua pelkästään Suomeen vaan koko pohjoiselle pallonpuoliskolle, niin koko globaali järjestelmä lamautuu. Kuinka nopeasti se palaa siitä takaisin ja minkälaisia vaikutuksia sillä on Suomelle, se on oma iso kysymyksensä, Tourula sanoo.

    Mittaushistorian voimakkain aurinkomyrsky oli vuonna 1859 havaittu Carringtonin myrsky. Vastaavaa ei ole koettu aikana, jolloin yhteiskuntien toiminta on riippuvainen sähköstä.

    Pienemmistä aurinkomyrskyistä on seurannut esimerkiksi sähkökatkoksia Ruotsissa ja Kanadassa.

    – Carrington-luokan myrskyn vaikutukset olisivat arvioiden mukaan moninkertaiset verrattuna modernilla ajalla tapahtuneisiin myrskyihin, Tourula sanoo.

    Hän kertoo, että voimakas myrsky uhkaisi laajasti sähköverkkoja, satelliitteja ja radiosignaaleja. Jos ne kaikki olisivat yhtä aikaa pelistä pois, voi kerrannaisvaikutuksia vain arvailla.

    – On helpompaa hallita erillisiä asioita ja varautua niiden vaikutuksiin, mutta sitten jos tämä koko homma on yhtä aikaa päällä, on haastavaa hahmottaa kokonaisuutta ja varsinkaan tietää tarkasti etukäteen.

    Elämää sähköttä

    Ihmisen arkeen voimakkaan aurinkomyrskyn mahdollisista vaikutuksista osuisi sattuvimmin sähköverkon kaatuminen.

    Tapio Tourulan mukaan Suomen sähköverkko itsessään kestäisi voimakastakin aurinkomyrskyä todennäköisesti hyvin, mutta muualla näin ei välttämättä ole.

    Kun aurinkomyrskyn vaikutukset eivät katso valtakuntien rajoja ja kun herkät sähköverkot ovat toisiinsa yhteydessä, niiden kaatuminen muualla uhkaa Suomenkin verkkoa.

    Kantaverkkoyhtiö Fingridin sittemmin eläköitynyt toimitusjohtaja Jukka Ruusunen kuvaili Iltalehdelle viime vuonna, mitä sähköverkon kaatuminen tarkoittaisi.

    – Mikään ei toimisi. Maksuliikenne ei toimisi, vessat eivät toimisi, kaikki lämmitys pysähtyisi. Se olisi koko yhteiskunnan täydellinen halvaantuminen, Ruusunen sanoi.


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