A magnetic storm recorded in early February prevented up to 40 Starlink satellites launched by famous American inventor and businessman Elon Musk on February 3 from orbiting, according to the SpaceX website.
The following is known about the magnetic storm: it was weak and began on Earth on February 3rd. And this happened because of a long flash of medium strength that happened on the Sun on January 30th. It lasted several hours and was accompanied by a coronal mass ejection directed towards the Earth.
“Up to 40 satellites will descend or have already descended from orbit,” the message says. The Musk company emphasized that magnetic storms heat the atmosphere, increasing its density. Atmospheric drag has increased by 50% over previous launches, SpaceX claims.
The satellites were switched to the most efficient mode - they were deployed so that they flew edges forward and pierced the atmosphere "like a sheet of paper." But due to atmospheric resistance, they could not be returned to their working position.
It is noted that the loss of satellites does not threaten other devices in orbit: falling satellites will completely burn out in dense layers of the atmosphere, and their fragments will not reach the Earth. Cape Canaveral in Florida took place on February 3.
The rocket was expected to launch 49 Starlink constellation vehicles into orbit. If the mission were successful, the number of devices of this series in orbit would exceed 2000. By the way, SpaceX plans that in the future the number of Starlink satellites will reach 12 thousand.