The intense devastation of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites captured on video after a space storm toss them out of orbit

Footage about SpaceX satellites burning up in Earth’s atmosphere after a geomagnetic storm toss them out of orbit has surfaced online.

Dramatic video shows space debris streaking across the night sky like a comet over Puerto Rico this week.

SpaceX satellites break up when they owe Puerto Rico


SpaceX satellites break up when they owe Puerto RicoCredit: Sociedad de Astronomia del Caribe

On February 3, a Falcon 9 rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral with 49 new Starlink satellites, designated group G4-7.

Shortly after launch, a geomagnetic storm hit Earth’s atmosphere, preventing the 40 satellites from reaching their final orbits.

SpaceX said in a statement this week that the desk-sized devices will disintegrate when they’re debited in the coming days.

Video of at least one Starlink breaking while commuting was captured with a camera run by the Sociedad de Astronomia del Caribe, a Puerto Rican nonprofit.

The 3-minute clip recorded on February 7 shows two apparent shattering events as debris is ripped apart by Earth’s atmosphere.

Marco Langbroek, a satellite tracking expert based in the Netherlands, said it could be a pair of satellites or two bits of the same spacecraft.

Either way, it’s clear the shard is related to last week’s broken Starlink launch.

“One clue is that the orbiter of this launch flew over Puerto Rico near the time of the event and the direction of motion (SW-NE) matched it.” Langbroek wrote on Wednesday.

“For even more certainty, I made some celestial measurements on the footage and fitted a rough circular orbit for the measured locations.

“The rough orbital fit I got – I measured three pieces – yield[s] inclination orbit between 54-56 degrees: Starlink satellite is in an inclined orbit of 53.2 degrees.

He added: “This is close enough (with a margin of error) to conclude that the object’s reorientation is consistent with the Starlink orbital plane.

“So there is little doubt that this is a returning Starlink satellite.”

In an update on Wednesday, SpaceX, run by billionaire Elon Musk, explained how the storm will affect the most recent Starlink deployment.

WiFi broadcast technology is often deployed into lower orbits so that they can be quickly de-buffered and destroyed in the event of a failure.

Once the initial test is complete, they are ejected to higher orbit, where they join a large constellation that provides internet access to Starlink customers.

A geomagnetic storm that rocked Earth’s magnetosphere on February 4 increased atmospheric drag, preventing satellites from lifting their orbits.

As a result, they will be pulled back by its gravity towards Earth before turning into dust as they re-enter the atmosphere.

“Unfortunately, the satellites deployed on Thursday were significantly impacted by a geomagnetic storm on Friday,” SpaceX said. Written on its website.

“These storms cause the atmosphere to warm and the density of the atmosphere at our low deployment altitudes to increase.”

SpaceX stressed that the dying space technology does not pose a collision risk to other satellites and would break apart upon reentry.

Estimates suggest that each satellite costs SpaceX $250,000 to build and launch, meaning the storm could cost as much as $10 million.

SpaceX announced Starlink – its project to transmit internet coverage to any place on the planet using a constellation of satellites – in 2015 and launched the first batch four years later.

The company plans to put 12,000 satellites into Earth orbit, which could grow to 42,000 in the future. Currently, it has nearly 2,000 in orbit.

Geomagnetic storms are triggered when the Sun spews charged particles that interact with the Earth’s magnetic field.

They can disrupt satellites and in extreme cases mess with GPS systems and even shut down the power grid.

Forty satellites launched by Elon Musk's SpaceX were effectively destroyed by a geomagnetic storm


Forty satellites launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX were effectively destroyed by a geomagnetic stormCredit: Reuters
In this long exposure image, a string of Elon Musk's SpaceX StarLink satellites fly past an old stone house near Florence, Kansas


In this long exposure image, a string of Elon Musk’s SpaceX StarLink satellites fly past an old stone house near Florence, KansasCredit: AP

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