Starlink and its satellites were affected by the powerful solar storm

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The Earth is currently under siege by the most powerful geomagnetic storm in the last two decades, a phenomenon that has put the Starlink satellites , owned by Elon Musk and an integral part of SpaceX , under “great pressure.” This extreme event reached level 5, the maximum on the geomagnetic activity scale, as reported by the United States Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) , marking the first time an event of this magnitude has been recorded since October 2003.

Musk has expressed through X, formerly known as Twitter, that although the Starlink satellites are facing considerable difficulties, they have so far managed to hold out.

“Big geomagnetic solar storm right now. The biggest in a long time. “ Starlink satellites are under a lot of pressure, but they are holding up so far,” wrote the company’s CEO.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( NOAA ) warned that a geomagnetic storm of this caliber could cause “widespread voltage control problems,” and even some grid systems could suffer complete collapses or blackouts.

Reuters noted that such storms are major disturbances of the Earth’s magnetosphere that occur when there is an exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space surrounding Earth, involving strong solar flares known as Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) . Since Wednesday, at least seven such events have been observed.

Starlink , with approximately 6,000 satellites in low Earth orbit, faced degraded service last Saturday, as it warned on its website without providing further details.

The company’s satellites use inter-satellite laser links to transmit data between them in space at the speed of light, offering internet coverage around the world. Controlling approximately 60% of the nearly 7,500 satellites that orbit the Earth , Starlink plays a dominant role in satellite internet, being vital for numerous communication and navigation services on our planet.

Fox Business highlighted that this event has not only tested the technological infrastructure in space, but has also offered an unprecedented natural spectacle. The storm has lit up the skies over the United States with a spectacular display of northern lights , typically seen near the Canadian border , this time extending into the Gulf of Mexico .

States such as Florida, Texas and Alabama reported skies tinted pink, green and purple, a phenomenon not seen in years or decades. Although conditions returned to Level 4 on Saturday morning, more geomagnetic activity is expected over the weekend due to additional solar flares, possibly extending into early next week.

Significant alterations in terrestrial navigation and communications are possible if satellites are impacted. (EUROPA PRESS)
Significant alterations in terrestrial navigation and communications are possible if satellites are impacted. (EUROPA PRESS)

The last time Earth experienced a Level 5 geomagnetic event, power outages were recorded in Sweden and damaged transformers in South Africa , underscoring the potential threat to power and navigation systems. NOAA warns that the storm will likely persist through the weekend, posing a risk to navigation systems, power grids and satellite navigation.

As we move toward an increasingly connected future, the resilience of our space infrastructure to extreme solar events will be crucial to maintaining communications and security in our society.