(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have reported that changes in sunny weather cause satellites to lose altitude. And this problem will only get worse.
At the end of 2021, operators of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Swarm satellite constellation noticed something troubling: vehicles that measure the magnetic field around the Earth began to sink into the atmosphere at an unusually high speed – up to 10 times faster than before.
The change coincided with the start of a new solar cycle, and experts believe it could be the start of difficult years for spacecraft orbiting our planet.
As explained in the ESA, the last five or six years, the satellites “sank” by about two and a half kilometers a year. But since December last year, they have practically “dived”. The sinking rate is now 20 kilometers per year.
It is noted that Swarm satellites are not the only ones affected by space weather. In February, SpaceX lost 40 brand new Starlink spacecraft to a solar storm.
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