Increased Solar Activity May Damage Satellites

Increased Solar Activity May Damage Satellites
Increased Solar Activity May Damage Satellites

Organized by the Secure World Foundation, “36. One of the agenda items at the Small Satellite Conference was the weather of space. The officials of the Space Weather Prediction Center, which has been tracking the weather conditions and solar activity in space for many years, also took part in this conference.

The 11th of the Solar Cycle, which repeats every 25 years on average, started towards the end of 2019. Solar flares and storms, which increase in intensity and number during the most active times of the solar cycle, can adversely affect spacecraft.

With increasing solar activity, charged particles emitted as a result of explosions and storms are absorbed by the atmosphere. While this behavior of the atmosphere relatively shields the Earth from radiation, it swells as a result of particle absorption. Due to increased particle density and swelling, satellites are subject to more friction than normal conditions. This increasing friction is causing a difference within the satellite operators.

For this situation, which requires different mission concepts than ever before, the SWPC scientists said, "Nothing we've experienced in the past two years matters because it won't be implemented for the next five years." used his statements. Undoubtedly, there is a concern that the previous cycle, the 24th cycle, is more passive than the previous cycles, and therefore, sufficient experience in operatorship has not been acquired.

While solar flares and storms can jeopardize satellite missions, they can also do so permanently, by damaging the satellite's components. COTS components, which have become widespread especially in the last periods of space technologies, may be adversely affected by solar activity. This negativity can be seen on the components as permanent or temporary damage.

Working with SWPC SpaceX

The effect of a solar storm last February was seen on Starlık satellites. Of the 49 newly launched Starlink satellites, 38 were unable to withstand atmospheric friction and fell into the atmosphere. Starlink satellites, which were thought to be produced with a lower cost and lower reliability rate compared to existing satellites, did not have a propulsion system that worked enough to withstand atmospheric friction.

Although the storm was a relatively small storm, SWPC and SpaceX are working together due to the situation it caused, and it is known that an article will be published soon summarizing the findings of the event.

Source: defenceturk

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