Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-2024-9
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-2024-9
08 Apr 2024
 | 08 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NPG.

NORAD Tracking of the 2022 February Starlink Satellites and the Immediate Loss of 32 Satellites

Fernando L. Guarnieri, Bruce T. Tsurutani, Rajkumar Hajra, Ezequiel Echer, and Gurbax S. Lakhina

Abstract. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracking of the SpaceX Starlink satellite launch on 2022 February 3 is reviewed. Of the 49 Starlink satellites released into orbit, 38 were eventually lost. Thirty-two of the satellites were never tracked by NORAD. Two different physical mechanisms have been proposed published in Space Weather and one in arXiv to explain the satellite losses. It is argued that none of these three papers can explain the immediate loss of 32 of the 49 satellites. We suggest NORAD satellite tracking information for scientists to further investigate possible loss mechanisms.

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Fernando L. Guarnieri, Bruce T. Tsurutani, Rajkumar Hajra, Ezequiel Echer, and Gurbax S. Lakhina

Status: open (until 23 Jun 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on npg-2024-9', Alexandra Fogg, 07 May 2024 reply
Fernando L. Guarnieri, Bruce T. Tsurutani, Rajkumar Hajra, Ezequiel Echer, and Gurbax S. Lakhina
Fernando L. Guarnieri, Bruce T. Tsurutani, Rajkumar Hajra, Ezequiel Echer, and Gurbax S. Lakhina

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Latest update: 18 May 2024
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Short summary
On February 03, 2022, SpaceX launched a new group of satellites for its Starlink constellation. This launch simultaneously released 49 satellites in orbits between 200 km and 250 km height. The launches occurred during a geomagnetic storm, followed by a second one. There was an immediate loss of 32 satellites. The satellite losses may have been caused by an unusually high level of atmospheric drag (unexplained by current theory/modeling) or a high level of satellite collisions.