What should SpaceX do to avoid losing MORE satellites?! – YouTube

What should SpaceX do to avoid losing MORE satellites?!



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  • Video Views: 19013
  • Published On: 2022-02-10 01:52:23
  • Video Published/Author: Ellie in Space
  • Video Duration: 00:19:53
  • Source: Watch on YouTube


On Thursday, February 3 at 1:13 p.m. EST, Falcon 9 launched 49 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Falcon 9’s second stage deployed the satellites into their intended orbit, with a perigee of approximately 210 kilometers above Earth, and each satellite achieved controlled flight.

SpaceX deploys its satellites into these lower orbits so that in the very rare case any satellite does not pass initial system checkouts it will quickly be deorbited by atmospheric drag. While the low deployment altitude requires more capable satellites at a considerable cost to us, it’s the right thing to do to maintain a sustainable space environment.

Unfortunately, the satellites deployed on Thursday were significantly impacted by a geomagnetic storm on Friday. These storms cause the atmosphere to warm and atmospheric density at our low deployment altitudes to increase. In fact, onboard GPS suggests the escalation speed and severity of the storm caused atmospheric drag to increase up to 50 percent higher than during previous launches. The Starlink team commanded the satellites into a safe-mode where they would fly edge-on (like a sheet of paper) to minimize drag—to effectively “take cover from the storm”—and continued to work closely with the Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron and LeoLabs to provide updates on the satellites based on ground radars.

Preliminary analysis show the increased drag at the low altitudes prevented the satellites from leaving safe-mode to begin orbit raising maneuvers, and up to 40 of the satellites will reenter or already have reentered the Earth’s atmosphere. The deorbiting satellites pose zero collision risk with other satellites and by design demise upon atmospheric reentry—meaning no orbital debris is created and no satellite parts hit the ground. This unique situation demonstrates the great lengths the Starlink team has gone to ensure the system is on the leading edge of on-orbit debris mitigation.

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45 comments
  1. Great info transfer.

    I'm 65. The hard-fact SF (and the straight science) I read when I was a kid didn't anticipate this drag, in my imperfect memory. Certainly, the Skylab management didn't do so, back in the early 70s. The Saturn5- supplied early missions stopped, Skylab went into storage until the Shuttle went online, the Shuttle was delayed, and the Skylab came down. (And a vastly increased difficulty in bootstrapping up the ISS from zero.)

  2. This guy gets on my nerves with some of his opinions that he has made. I mean, for him to say that this incident is "embarrassing" for SpaceX, goes to show how much he knows about Elon Musk, and how the success of every single venture that he has right now and in the past, were built on accidents, incidents and mishaps. Embarrassed 😳??? I doubt that Elon feels anything beyond disappointment because it possibly could have been avoided? Who knows… What I do know though is that this oversight will not happen again.

    An expensive lesson, but a lesson learnt.

    Also, why state that it will only happen again if they are "stupid"? Unless it was an attempt at humour, which by the way was abysmal by any standards and the man has a clear disrespect for the staff at SpaceX. Elon has said that he wanted the 'best in the business' which wasn't easy I'll bet. How do you convince these top engineers and scientists, who undoubtedly held positions within Nasa, Lockheed etc? Why would anyone leave a dream vocation to go and work for a brand new venture (in an industry famous for bankrupting almost everyone who has started making rockets etc) with no history in the industry to speak of? 🤔
    Think about that…
    🙄
    How???
    🤔
    …..
    ..
    🤯 It doesn't compute, but it was achieved by the phenomenal mind of Elon Musk.

    And it wasn't a fluke either. You only have to look at Tesla. I wonder how many 'stupid' people work there too? 🤔…

    I think I've made my point.

    Maybe it being his 3rd interview is why… He is going to have to cut back.

    Or get a second engine 🤣🤣🤣👍🏻

  3. The problem in that there are going to be more and more solar activity due to sun coronal ejection and as the poles are on the move only small increments but enough to weaken the earth's magnetosphere scientists will always sing from the same hymn book and will never go agents each other and some times what they say is pure bunkum and over emphasized it is so simple just raise the altitude

  4. Jonathan McDowell did a great job explaining the issues but he missed one important detail. The krypton thrusters get their power from the solar panels and due to the higher density of the atmosphere they were unable to line up the solar panels with the sun thereby decreasing the output of the thrusters even more making it impossible for the satellites to reach higher apogee.. Just saying…

  5. What happened to this batch is what happened to Skylab. The solar activity heated up the atmosphere causing drag on the satellites. With Skylab it came down before shuttle was ready to boost it.

  6. I'll nitpick the statement about the Van Allen belts protecting the earth. The Van Allen belts are the consequence, not the cause. The magnetic field traps the charged particles and keeps them in the radiation belt.

  7. You ask good questions and appear to have studied the topic more than the introductory paragraph of a Wiki article.. No offense, but your being a journalist didn't cause me to assume that you would.

  8. What SpaceX should do to avoid losing satellites to a sun burst again?
    Try to get a better long term forecast for these events and when they have just sent some of their satellites freshly to orbit, quickly move them to a higher orbit or release them in a higher orbit.

    Or just deal with the fact that they have lost about how much? … 1% of their satellites due to a rare event. … especially in case that the coutermeasures would cost so much fuel of the second stage so that they can only send 1% or 2% less satellites per launch, that would be 1 satellite less per launch, that might not be worth the effort of using more fuel to bring them to a higher orbit.

    Customer satellites are tranported to their desired orbit, but their own are transported with the lowest cost to orbit.

  9. regardless of adjusting slightly to a more conservative higher orbit, the increasing volatility/weakness of earths magnetic field interaction with the sun exposes all satellites to greater field fluctuations and drag assumptions. So the risk/price will increase, but they can plan for more robust implementations from here. Probably a good opportunity to improve the designs. See also Suspicious Observers.

  10. In the end I think SpaceX isn't losing any sleep over this…40 sats going down in flames represents something like a 20 million dollar loss in a constellation that cost a few billion. So it's basically a rounding error in the company's bottom line. I'm sure they'll take steps to avoid it happening again, but it's probably not worth reducing the payload to avoid it happening again.

    For instance if the chances of this happening again are 1 in 50, I'm betting the odds are even lower, but lets go with 1 in 50. Then the odds are still very good it will be more expensive to reduce the payload to 45 vs occasionally losing part or all of a launch's payload. After all reducing the payload by 4 sats over 50 launches is you deciding to intentionally not launch 200 sats for the fear of losing 49. The loss of 49 would cost 27 million total and cost to launch the 200 sats you left on the ground if you reduce the payload is around 67 million. Meaning over 50 launches SpaceX will lose about 40 million dollars if they reduce their payload vs just excepting sometimes S happens.

  11. ELON, NEXT TIME, DON'T USE PEPPER….
    THE SUN SNEEZED!
    TRY DISCRETION!
    It's the WELL-BEING of one another, that's TRUELY of WORTH!
    Not SOMETHING ELSE!
    In my kingdom, the eye of man freely gives, investing into his neighbor's well-being, because he sees what's of worth, to himself….
    Where one another is of worth, there is no cost…. it's Priceless!

  12. Are you people are idiots china is picking them off Elon Musk could override their satellites and the people of China would know the truth and so will the world .that’s why they are blowing them up .space has been Weaponized for decades. They can blame the sun all they want to funny how they don’t consider the sun when it comes to affecting the climate but whenever anyone puts up a superior satellite somehow it gets shot down.

  13. They should be scraped like Stardust. Then subcontract a new batch to China for less and reliability. Don’t use black markets for parts then quad tripled the cost. Don’t outsource to India for this project which has poor track record.

  14. I know exactly what SpaceX needs to do

    Just keep the Satellites on the ground, keep them safe and warm inside a waterproof cocoon, deep underground where they cannot be harmed by radiation and can't be harmed by falling to earth.

    I'm a fucking genius, hey Elon, you see that, I am the smartest!

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