Solar geomagnetic storms could threaten more satellites after Elon Musk’s Starlink

Elon Musk’s SpaceX will lose 40 Starlink satellites to a geomagnetic storm as solar activity ramps up. But does this spell disaster for the future of satellites in space? 

On Tuesday (Feb. 8), SpaceX revealed that likely 40 of its 49 newest Starlink satellites that launched last Thursday (Feb. 3) were affected by a geomagnetic storm on Friday. The storm increased the density in Earth’s atmosphere, increasing drag on the satellites as they were released and attempting an insertion phase into orbit. This drag kept the satellites from entering orbit and they will now burn up in our atmosphere.