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SpaceX satellites falling out of orbit after solar storm

Soumis
 
Spacex’s newest fleet of satellites is tumbling out of orbit after being struck by a solar storm. Up to 40 of the 49 small satellites launched last week have either reentered the atmosphere and burned up, or are on the verge of doing so, the company said in an online update Tuesday night. SpaceX said a geomagnetic storm last Friday made the atmosphere denser, which increased the drag on the Starlink satellites, effectively dooming them. Ground controllers tried to save the compact, flat-panel… (apnews.com) Plus d'info...

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mbrews
mbrews 4
From this site -

https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/05/15/spacex-releases-new-details-on-starlink-satellite-design/

Each of the Starlink satellites weighs around 500 pounds (227 kilograms), according to SpaceX. Stacked together inside the payload shroud of a Falcon 9 rocket, the 60 satellites weigh 15 tons (13,620 kilograms), making the cargo on Wednesday night’s launch the heaviest ever lofted into orbit by SpaceX
KatzyBaby
KatzyBaby 2
Interestingly, you use the term lofted, like throwing a softball up into the air. It always comes back down.
mbrews
mbrews 2
Tks for pointing that out. The term lofted is from the spaceflightnow story.

Some sages from the past figured out the forces of GRAVITY ( gravitas )
Credit to Sir Isaac Newton about year 1687 or so.....
ringeralle
ringeralle 1
One of many similar definitions: "to propel through the air or into space". There is no reason to think something lofted into orbit will come down.
RECOR10
RECOR10 1
" There is no reason to think something lofted into orbit will come down." - tell that to SkyLab.
shushing3
Sumner Hushing 4
“The satellites hit by the solar storm were in a temporary position. SpaceX deliberately launches them into this unusually low orbit so that any duds can quickly reenter the atmosphere and pose no threat to other spacecraft.”
sparkie624
sparkie624 4
That one cost them a Buck or 2... :)
Moviela
Ric Wernicke 12
But they make it up by selling golf carts dressed as automobiles for 100K.
sparkie624
sparkie624 5
LOL... I like that analogy!
rmchambers
rmchambers 4
I've never driven a golf cart that put push my head back into the headrest when accellerating!
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 3
Perhaps time to change golf courses!
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
They had one that did on one of the Caddy Shack movies... :)
lynx318
lynx318 1
Check out the Lotus Evija, 2000hp (500hp motor each wheel)
xmitr
Don Whyte 1
Should get you past the next fossil fuel station on time
tuturea
David Tuturea 4
If these satellites are that sensitive so as to be doomed by solar activity aberrations, there is something wrong with the planning and design of this fleet.
Bratfalken
Jan Strömbäck 4
They where in a sensitive moment after the launch while they couldn't deploy their solar panels as the solarstorm made the extremly thin part of the atmosphere denser than normal, and then the spinned up reactionwheel could nor reorient them in time to open the solarpanel that is essential in the fuel effiecient Ion drive that would have pushed them into the final orbit. It isn't as these might drop out of space each time there is an solar storm. Every satellite is sensitive to solar storms, but mainly because of overpowered electric systems and some in low earth orbit can be slowed down just because of this denser atmosphere. Launching these when the sun is not acting up makes it work as it should and they ought have taken that in account and postsponed the launch. As said above, watch Scott Manleys video on Youtube.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 2
Agree with you. In such a high-cost, high-risk environment, there is no excuse to not have a plan B, C, D. Amature.
ADXbear
ADXbear 5
Space pollution.. last why they need so many and how other sats and manned rockets avoid all the junk up there is amazing..
michel17
Michel Montreuil 6
You missed this line: "Up to 40 of the 49 small satellites launched last week have either reentered the atmosphere and burned up, or are on the verge of doing so," BURNED UP.... I love all the environmentalist comments here... We burn fuel for a living here...
mbrews
mbrews 1
A clarification : Other press releases have said 95 % of the satellite burns up during re-entry. NOT 100 % So for a satellite weighing 500 pounds , expect 25 pounds of space debris ( Musk-crap ) streaking at high speed, to random spots on earth.....
RECOR10
RECOR10 0
But, but, but....Koala Bears!!! Wait, are koalas even endangered? I know they are stoned for their entire lives.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 4
somehow I sense you had an early start to your eucalyptus consumption today! But it is Friday.
oldfolkie
Iain Girling 2
For the record, Koalas are NOT Bears, they are marsupials.
lynx318
lynx318 1
They have just been put on the endangered list.
roxyht2150
Larry Sztogryn 2
endangered from being hit by the 25 pounds of space junk?? LOL..LOL..LOL.....sorry couldn't help myself...Lol...Lol....
PSUAth
Supercool Marmol 2
Scott Manley uploaded a really good video describing what happened, why it happened, what SpaceX does in terms of launch planning, and how the mission constraints are designed to have the best series of abort functions.

Worth your time to spend 11 minutes.
Rickawald
Rick Wald 2
Should be a Great Week for sky watchers.......not so great for astronamours!! I've seen the space-trains several times after a launch...wonder how widespread the reenteries will be; fairly dispersed I would think!!

Reentry Train would be Spectacular!!
Bratfalken
Jan Strömbäck 4
The really silly part is that SpaceX is not alone sending internet satellites up there, China, Russia the EU and even UK is planning to launch their grid of satellites, I would NOT like to be an astronomer in a couple of years, dodging all these optically obsuring and signal overwhelming things can become the doom of the planet when you can't search for earth treathening meteorites. All because we are lazy about laying cables!
Propwash122
Peter Fuller 2
If searching from ground level for earth-threatening asteroids becomes untenable, then you can do it from a satellite orbiting above the sky-obscuring cloud of internet satellites.
Bratfalken
Jan Strömbäck 1
Of course, but to a greater cost and with things that can't be mended like ground based observatories.
MamaGianna
Joanne Crist 1
Agree with the comment about Elon Musk making up losses by selling overpriced EVs under his T-ESL-A label as he told Biden the other day. When I hear ESL, as a Californian, I think English as a Second Language. Well, I am trilingual. I suspect Mr. Musk, with his ‘vision’ intended this as an insult to Biden, but frankly IMHO can across as the same arrogant pig he generally seems to be. His Teslas have had record numbers of problems and also make models that rival, again IMHO, the Pontiac Aztek and the AMC Pacer, for ugliness. Why would we expect any better from Musk’s adventures into space???? Perhaps he can do the world a favor and launch his half-truths and ego on one of his SpaceX missions!
chugheset
chugheset -2
Well last year about a million people disagreed with you regarding the Tesla (and to compare it's looks to that of a Pacer is just ridiculous). Glad you worked in "trilingual" though to let us know how smart you are.
MamaGianna
Joanne Crist 1
Wasn’t trying to seem smart. And, I did NOT work in trilingual. That was your assumption. I worked in finance with major corporations. I merely pointed out the common use (at least in CA) of ESL. Musk meant it as a dig, but I think that Biden knows how to spell Tesla. They are a dime a dozen where I live and the Model Y is, IMHO, a truly ugly vehicle. Tesla Motors has had 9 recalls in the last four months alone. What does that say about quality? These cars are expensive relative to many cars, but seem fraught with problems. Musk has made claims about systems capabilities that don’t actually work. While I could afford one (and NO, I am not bragging), I would return it were it a gift!
lynx318
lynx318 0
Oh dear, 9 recalls, check all the other manufacturers recalls, quite a few big boys have more.
ShirBlackspots
Charles Ball 0
Those recalls have all been over the air software updates. The NHTSA is misusing the recall process.
MamaGianna
Joanne Crist 2
https://www.protocol.com/tesla-nhtsa-recall
These are NOT all over the air. But, what would a woman know????
Rickawald
Rick Wald -1
Ya.....U R bragging!! Everyone else on the site would sell it if it UnWanted gift!!
MamaGianna
Joanne Crist 3
No. If anything, I would donate to a charity! That way, that could sell it. I believe in EVs and will own one eventually. We have had solar panels for decades, and clean energy is the way to go. I just don’t like Tesla. Why is that a problem when folks are on here blasting the Space X? Musk has made a fortune - Good for him! Doesn’t mean I like him or his products. OR, is that not appropriate discourse. I have known a lot of VERY arrogant people, My theory has always been that arrogance, when backed up with intelligence and competence, is perfectly fine. Perhaps you should consider this approach! I wrote a thoughtful opinion, but I guess you could not handle it!
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
Clean energy is not so clean. There are always a downside or non-green issue about such. Solar panels that wash toxic water soluble cadmium into the ground will eventually make it into ground water, or wind turbine blades that get cut up and buried in landfills at end of life. That does not count how much chemicals and such that is used to manufacture said stuff or get buried in landfills due to costs associated with or lack of facilities to recycle them.

Electric airplanes will need more than lithium-ion batteries to go from the US to Europe. And, as of now, it is difficult to recycle them and many localities do not take them. Where will the thousands of batteries for planes designed for regional flight go?
lynx318
lynx318 0
Tesla is the fastest current climber on the stock exchange of all car manufacturers globally, may want to rethink your thoughts.
franzdumont
FRANCOIS DUMONT 1
A silly thing not considered in the previous years. Now is too late, just be able to cry.....
saikripa01
Yesh Enjeti 1
Universe is sending a serious message to human beings not to continue to mess around with nature as it will have serious consequences….
ljcotnoir
Leo Cotnoir 1
Clearly this was faulty planning on the part of SpaceX. There are plenty of data about atmospheric density at various altitudes during all phases of the solar cycle. The satellites were simply not launched into orbits high enough to be stable.
OnTheAve
OnTheAve 3
You should read the article:

"The satellites hit by the solar storm were in a temporary position. SpaceX deliberately launches them into this unusually low orbit so that any duds can quickly reenter the atmosphere and pose no threat to other spacecraft."
sparkie624
sparkie624 3
Looks like they found a bunch of Duds then!
OnTheAve
OnTheAve 1
No, these weren't duds. They were simply caught out when the solar storm hit while they were still in the low orbit.

Apparently, and I certainly hope so, the solar storm was not forecasted.
ljcotnoir
Leo Cotnoir 5
That still seems to me like poor mission design. Constellations of cheap, low-quality satellites are guaranteed to increase space junk. I helped write several subsystem proposals for the Teledesic system some years ago. They seemed to have taken a reasonable satellite cost estimate and just lobbed off a zero in the expectation that mass production would bring down costs. That has never worked in space. To paraphrase Dan Goldin, "Faster, Better, Cheaper...pick two." SpaceX has done a surprisingly good job adapting 1950s Soviet launcher technology but I think that they are out of their depth designing satellites.
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
Just remember... The old rule that holds true today... what goes up, must come back down.... LOL.. Sooner or Later1
ljcotnoir
Leo Cotnoir 2
The problem is that much of what is launched does not come back down. Yes, there are now international agreements about deorbiting satellites at their end of life, but there are no requirements that launch vehicle upper stages be deorbited. Most of the "satellites" one can see on a dark night are, in fact, launch vehicles.
Bratfalken
Jan Strömbäck 1
That is why SpaceX has been certain that their satellite grid CAN deorbit these when they don't work or are able to keep the orbit, it deliberatly sends them down into the atmosphere to burn.
mbrews
mbrews 2
OK, but the burnup rate is 95% burnup of a 500 pound (227 kg) satellite.


Consider the streaking 25 pounds (11 kg) of Musk-crap that re-enters, from each of the eventual 4000 Starlinks.

Will we expect people worldwide to practice duck-and-cover drills, to be ready in case the junk arrives rather rapidly at their locations ?? :)

Will there emerge a new type of collectible space rock, (aka a fake meteorite) when found on the ground long after impact ?? :)
RECOR10
RECOR10 0
How many tanks of premuum fuel in my AMG do I need to rip trough to equal the pollution of a few descending satellites?
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 1
Park your ego sport.
mbrews
mbrews 1
Thanks for sharing your informative posts, Leo. I didn't know the Teledesic history until you mentioned it.

To me, seems HIGHLY possible the solar storm had sufficient magnitude to "fry" some electronics onboard the failed satellites. Spacex controllers might have THOUGHT they were controlling / orienting, but were unaware of the undetected electronics damage.

I'm no expert on radiation-hardening for space electronics. However, I know it's a major design consideration, and risk consideration.

Low and behold - look at thise space weather forecast in early February near the dates of the failures --

https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/news/geomagnetic-storm-conditions-likely-2-3-february-2022



bbabis
bbabis 1
That was an expensive light show. I happened to catch a string of them being deployed a few months ago. That was pretty awesome also.
MikeCafffyn
Mike Cafffyn -6
But when there is thousands up there, our night sky will be ruined forever. This madman has to be stopped.
bbabis
bbabis 2
There are already thousands up there with no change in our sky. Space is a big place. Find an app that will show you what is already up there since 1960 and you will be amazed. Plus you do get that free light show when something does comes down.
jftaylor
Jay Taylor 3
It is not "no change in our sky." I've seen these satellites scintillating as they orbit in the night sky.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
The difference between Star Link and other satellites is that they cause large streaks of lights that inhibit viewing of stars or planets such as these pics show.

https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/oBGAJ6hWHweWKMA6gCApdk.jpg

https://cdn.theatlantic.com/thumbor/4-Je4_hJ03r91lIJ5Jdr7m_wTuc=/549x1028:7432x6190/1200x900/media/img/mt/2020/02/D00908899_i_r5001p01_CC_cleaned_2-2/original.jpg
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
https://freegameguide.online/2020/07/25/starlink-satellites-completely-destroy-photo-of-comet-neowise-see-the-image/

See this article.
flybd5juan
Juan Jimenez -1
I wouldn't shed a single tear if someone hacked into the Starlink satellite control system and ordered them to start a spectacular light show.
roxyht2150
Larry Sztogryn 2
maybe you should read the happy comments from people in the boonies that have never been able to use the internet until Starlink--me included. Such a mean comment---you should be ashamed of yourself!
Bratfalken
Jan Strömbäck 1
What speed do you get and how slow is the pingrate, and does it work when it's raining heavely?
roxyht2150
Larry Sztogryn 2
Hi! Just did speed test for you. Ping:50 Download:197 Upload:9.41. NO PROBLEMS in heavy snow or heavy rain. Thanks!
MikeCafffyn
Mike Cafffyn -7
This crazy scheme needs to be stopped asap. Absolute madness. Sitting out watching the evening sky in 5 years - all we will see is Musk and no Dusk.....
GreggHales
Gregg Hales 4
Got a calculator mate? Diameter of earth is approx 12,742 km, making the radius 6,371 km, the low earth orbit of the Starlink satellites is at 540 km, now making a radius of 6,911 km or 6,911,000 meters, now the formula for working out the surface of a sphere is 4*pi*r*r which would make the surface area of a sphere at 540 km above the earth surface 600,194,000,539,746 square meters, so even if there were a million satellites sitting at that level, you would be looking at a satellite in every 600,194,000 square meters. Obviously a few more per that area, as I would assume they don't need satellite in the arctic circle maybe? But hopefully you get my point that there is a massive amount of area up there?
I am amazed at how many people carry on without doing their own research, on so many issues, not just this one. If you honestly believe that a million satellites would be "clouding your view" of the night sky, well, you must have extremely good eyesight. Not to mention most people I have met carrying on about this, when I ask them when was the last time they sat outside looking at the night sky, said it was when they were a kid or "many years ago". The majority of the worlds population live in large cities, where the light pollution prevents any sort of a clear vision of the night sky to begin with.
So, now, what were you saying?
And I assume you don't want any of the possible benefits that come from satellites that are up there or at the very least have never had a need to use any benefit, like GPS to name but one??
evang099
Evan Gamblin 1
> I would assume they don't need satellite in the arctic circle maybe?

There are people there.
On the North American side there is Nunavut (25 or so communities), NWT, Yukon and Alaska. Then Russia, Finland, Norway, Iceland & Greenland. My info may be outdated, but IIRC geostationary comms satellites only served up to 76N or so.
21voyageur
Dan Chiasson 2
Well, seeing Musk blaze across the horizon in a spectacular flame-out may not be a bad thing. The guy is a mad genius who with tons of money, has run wild and does as he pleases. Who says money does not talk?
sparkie624
sparkie624 0
LOL... If he keeps up, you will have to have Vector Airways in space just to navigate around them. I can just see a flight plan for the next orbit with 3 or 4 maneuvers before they can get to a high enough altitude.
lynx318
lynx318 1
So much space junk up there already, more is not better. At least these stuffed ones are falling out of orbit and hanging up there like sky bollards. Flightaware is gonna have to venture into space too I guess, won't flight tracker be interesting then.
lynx318
lynx318 1
*and NOT hanging up there....oops

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