You know that sad and horrible feeling of losing something expensive just bought? Take that feeling to astronomical levels (pun intended) and try to understand how you’re feeling Elon Musk. THE starlinksatellite internet service from SpaceXmissed 40 satellites (out of a total of 49) launched on February 3 after they went through a geomagnetic storm. All this one day after launch.
Starlink loses $40 million
The 49 satellites rocket launch Falcon 9 passed through geomagnetic storm (an effect caused by the collision of solar winds with our atmosphere) during the stage of being allocated in the desired orbit — around 210 km above sea level, so that in case of problem or failure these satellites can “return” to Earth and be destroyed on re-entry. The day after launch, February 4th, even before completing its desired orbit, the geomagnetic storm increased the flight drag of the satellites. This increase in drag prevented the 40 of them exit safe mode to perform ascent manoeuvres. THE SpaceX estimates that at least 40 of them will re-enter or have already re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere (being destroyed). There is no clarity on the price of each satellite, but speculation suggests that each one costs a maximum of 1 million dollars, which generates a loss of almost US$ 40 million with the destruction of the equipment.
Increase the number of images with satellite constellations
With Starlink completing its constellation of satellites and more other companies (such as Amazon, Boeing and One Web), it is expected that “virtually all images” from ground-based telescopes will have the trail of low-orbiting satellites. However, the study that analyzed the impact on photos from space (done by the Zwicky Transient Facility) only looked at the appearance of Starlink equipment. Not out of annoyance with Elon Musk, but because SpaceX’s internet service is the most advanced (yes, things are only going to get worse), with more satellites in orbit. In 2019, 0.5% of photos were affected. Currently, it is 20% of the images.
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