A geomagnetic storm has deprived billionaire Elon Musk of 40 out of 49 satellites. The company released them into the upper atmosphere last Wednesday. Footage taken in Puerto Rico on Monday morning shows several bright objects flying through a dark sky. These are probably Musk’s satellites.
Evidence of a multimillion-dollar loss over Puerto Rico. Musk’s satellites are burning in the atmosphere. | Video: Asociated Press
According to SpaceX, the geomagnetic storm caused a densification of the atmosphere last Friday, which increased the resistance of the Starlink satellites, thus effectively condemning them to extinction. “Preliminary analysis shows that increased resistance at low altitudes has prevented satellites from leaving safe mode and launching maneuvers to increase orbit, and up to 40 satellites will return or have returned to the Earth’s atmosphere,” SpaceX said in a statement on Tuesday.
According to the economic magazine Fortune, the company does not disclose the cost of its Starlink satellites, but some analysts estimate the price of each module at $ 250,000 to $ 500,000, which means that a fleet of 40 satellites would cost a maximum of $ 20 million. That is about 400 million crowns.
The company has previously reported that each launch of the Falcon 9, which launches satellites into orbit, costs about $ 30 million, so in total the failed operation could cost SpaceX about $ 50 million in sunk costs, Fortune wrote.
SpaceX has already launched 1,469 Starlink satellites (other sources say more than 2,000) and plans a total of 30,000, Fortune wrote. Together, they will form the infrastructure to support Musk’s plan to deliver high-speed Internet to remote areas of the globe.