Elon Musk Reports Starlink Satellites Strained by Solar Storm

Elon Musk Reports Starlink Satellites Strained by Solar Storm

SpaceX's Starlink satellite service is experiencing service degradation due to a significant geomagnetic solar storm, the largest the Earth has encountered in nearly two decades. This storm, classified as a G4 by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), could disrupt not only satellite operations but also power grids and navigation systems. The solar activity responsible for the storm originated from a large sunspot cluster, NOAA Region 3664, and is expected to persist over the weekend.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, has reported that the Starlink fleet, which consists of nearly 6,000 satellites and represents approximately 60% of all satellites in Earth's orbit, is under intense pressure. These satellites are facing increased atmospheric drag which may lead to a decrease in their altitude and, in extreme cases, reentry into Earth's atmosphere. Despite the pressure, the satellites are holding up so far.

The storm's impact extends beyond the potential for satellite attrition, as it may also cause disruptions to radio communications, GPS signals, and even result in aurora displays visible as far south as Northern California. System operators have been warned to take protective actions against the potential disturbances. The severity of this solar storm has drawn attention to the vulnerability of Earth's technological infrastructure to space weather events and underscores the need for vigilant monitoring and prediction of such occurrences.


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