Elon Musk Loses Tens of Millions; Destructive Solar Event Destroys 38 Starlink Satellites

A destructive solar event destroyed dozens of SpaceX satellites in space. A wave of solar particles and radiation heated the atmosphere and raised the density which led to the destruction of 38 satellites. The incident happened earlier this year after SpaceX launched 48 satellites. The event resulted in the loss of millions of dollars for Elon Musk and pressed the urgent need for accurate prediction of space weather.

On February 3, Musk's company launched 49 satellites into space from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at that time there was no prediction of the solar storm. But after they launched the satellites, a massive wave of solar particles and radiation started washing over Earth.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk Twitter

Wave Was Sparked By An Explosion On Sun's Surface

That wave was sparked by an explosion on the sun's surface - typically called solar flares or coronal mass ejections (CMEs) - that are part of space weather. After reaching our planet, the solar material heated our atmosphere and raised the density of the small amounts of air at the altitude of 130 miles where the Starlink satellites had been sent, according to Daily Mail.

advanced synthetic aperture radars
Representative image Twitter

Solar Particles And Radiation Started Washing Over Earth

A study from the US and Chinese researchers claimed that it was a geomagnetic storm, which brought significant financial, aerospace, and public influences. The researchers found that due to the atmospheric drag the small satellites could not raise themselves several hundred miles higher.

solar storm

SpaceX Lost Millions Due to Solar Event

"This event brings forth the urgent requirements of better understanding and accurate prediction of the space weather as well as collaborations between industry and space weather community," said the researchers.

SpaceX Has Over 3000 Satellites in Orbit

Space X, which has more than 3000 satellites in orbit, last week launched 34 satellites and in future they have plans to launch more.

Thirty-eight of the Starlink satellites sank lower and lower - before burning up at thousands of miles per hour. The study also found that the economic loss to SpaceX from the solar storm would have been 'several tens of millions of dollars, according to the Mail.

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This article was first published on September 17, 2022
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