SpaceX’s most recent fleet of satellites is falling out of orbit after being struck by a solar storm. In between 40 of the 49 of the small satellites launched last week have either re-entered the atmosphere and burned up or are about to. The company made the announcement in an online update Tuesday night.
SpaceX explained that a geomagnetic storm last Friday made the atmosphere denser, which increased the drag on the Starlink satellites, effectively destroying them. Ground controllers tried to save the satellites by putting them into a type of hibernation and flying them in a way to minimize drag. However, all efforts failed as the atmospheric pull was too great.
The company still has close to 2,000 Starlink satellites orbiting Earth and providing internet service to remote corners of the world. The web of satellites orbits the globe more than 340 miles up. There is no danger from these newly falling satellites, either in orbit or on the ground according to the company.
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