SpaceX Sees Loss of 40 Starlink Satellites | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Most Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date



Airborne-Wednesday Airborne-Thursday


Airborne On YouTube



Airborne-Unlimited-05.15.24 Airborne-AffordableFlyers-05.16.24


Thu, Feb 10, 2022

SpaceX Sees Loss of 40 Starlink Satellites

Initial Deployment Phase Hampered by Storm, Units Prevented from Achieving Higher Orbit Before Succumbing to Gravity

A costly lesson in space weather has been learned by SpaceX after its recent Falcon 9 launch carrying 49 Starlink Satellites into low Earth orbit encountered a geomagnetic storm soon after deployment.

The resulting damage resulted in the loss of the majority of the units, with only 9 likely to make their way into position unscathed. While the damage to the SpaceX bottom line is unfortunate, reports of visible reentry have begun filtering in, giving astronomers a rare show as they watch the satellites disintegrate.

The launch took place on February 3 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, successfully deploying the second stage while placing the satellites about 130 miles up in orbit for initial checks and activation. When activating the satellites in low orbit, SpaceX plans for those that fail testing to be deorbited and destroyed by atmospheric drag, keeping the amount of abandoned orbital debris low.

Unfortunately, the satellites were impacted by the storm which increased atmospheric density and warmed the region rapidly, increasing drag on them by 50% over previous launches. Trying to mitigate the effects of the increased drag, SpaceX commanded them to minimize their profile in the wind, placing their edges into the wind. 

Ultimately, the storm remained too strong and its effects too great, preventing the satellites from activating to begin orbit raising maneuvers. Initial estimates expect that 40 of them will or already have reentered Earth's atmosphere, deorbiting into earth's gravity. As they descend, they will burn up with no resulting debris or problems caused to operators or lives below.

The lesson has been a costly one for the company, as some say the cost of replacing the Starlink satellites will run them around $10 million.

Their current constellation contains around 1,900 functioning satellites to provide internet service throughout its coverage, a small fraction of its desired megaconstellation of 42,000. 



More News

Samson Sky Hits the Wind Tunnel

Improvements Stack as Brand Readies for Mass Production Samson Sky updated followers on its flying car progress, describing some of the travails of the wind tunnel as they get clos>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (05.22.24): LAHSO

LAHSO An acronym for “Land and Hold Short Operation.” These operations include landing and holding short of an intersecting runway, a taxiway, a predetermined point, or>[...]

Aero-FAQ: Dave Juwel's Aviation Marketing Stories -- ITBOA BNITBOB

Dave Juwel's Aviation Marketing Stories ITBOA BNITBOB ... what does that mean? It's not gibberish, it's a lengthy acronym for "In The Business Of Aviation ... But Not In The Busine>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (05.19.24)

Aero Linx: Space Medicine Association (SMA) The Space Medicine Branch was founded in 1951 as the first constituent organization of the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA). In 2006>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (05.19.24): Back-Taxi

Back-Taxi A term used by air traffic controllers to taxi an aircraft on the runway opposite to the traffic flow. The aircraft may be instructed to back-taxi to the beginning of the>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus





© 2007 - 2024 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC