The headline is hyperbole, but I couldn’t resist. The satellites aren’t falling onto the streets but they aren’t keeping in orbit either. AP News reports…
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 satellites by putting them into a type of hibernation and flying them in a way to minimize drag. But the atmospheric pull was too great, and the satellites failed to awaken and climb to a higher, more stable orbit, according to the company.
SpaceX still has close to 2,000 Starlink satellites orbiting Earth and providing internet service to remote corners of the world. They circle the globe more than 340 miles up (550 kilometers).