Clap for the company of Elon Musk. While Space X put 49 satellites of its Starlink constellation into orbit last week, they are already falling. In question ? A solar storm that hit Earth with a stream of highly energetic particles. These damaged the satellites beyond repair.
Last week, Space X placed 49 new satellites in orbit as part of its Starlink mission. As a reminder, this project by billionaire Elon Musk promises high-speed internet access around the world thanks to the deployment of a constellation of satellites placed in low Earth orbit. This new launch was supposed to be a simple routine mission, but a surprise guest arrived to thwart the company’s plans: the sun.
A solar storm occurred last Friday and severely damaged Starlink satellites, RFI reports. This phenomenon did not affect the Earth’s surface, but it did warm the atmosphere. The rise in temperature increased the drag of space objects, which were slowed down and burdened by the highly energetic solar particles. In a press release published Tuesday, Feb. 8, Space X subsequently announced that nearly all 49 satellites had been damaged in an irreversible manner. 40 of them have already been destroyed and the others will continue to lose altitude until they burn completely in the coming hours and days, RFI indicates.
Satellites that cause light pollution
A priori, this geomagnetic storm was not of great intensity. However, these solar flares should become increasingly powerful until 2025, prior to RFI. By this time, Space X has set a target of deploying 12,000 satellites to its Starlink project. The space and space travel company has already put more than 1,700 in orbit and hopes to eventually have 40,000, an ambition that is of particular concern to scientists. Currently, Starlink satellites are believed to be involved in half of all space collision threats. In addition, their deployment causes light pollution that could jeopardize astronomers’ observations.
† Going from 5,000 satellites to 40,000, that makes a network of satellites around the earth, a shell of satellites, which means that regardless of the field that we are going to observe, we will have traces of satellites that will distort our images and that will tell us about it. prevent us from doing our scienceAstrophysicist Miguel Montargès explains to Franceinfo.
Will Elon Musk burn his wings because he wants to get closer to the sun? In any case, these satellites have suffered quite a bit of heat stroke.