Unexpected space weather causing the reentry of 38 Starlink satellites in February 2022

Ryuho Kataoka, Daikou Shiota, Hitoshi Fujiwara, Hidekatsu Jin, Chihiro Tao, Hiroyuki Shinagawa, Yasunobu Miyoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The accidental reentry of 38 Starlink satellites occurred in early February 2022, associated with the occurrence of moderate magnetic storms. A poorly understood structure of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) caused the magnetic storms at unexpected timing. Therefore, a better understanding of minor CME structures is necessary for the modern space weather forecast. During this event, the-up to 50% enhancement of air drag force was observed at ~200 km altitude, preventing the satellites'safety operations. Although the mass density enhancement predicted by the NRLMSIS2.0 empirical model is less than 25% under the present moderate magnetic storms, the real-time GAIA simulation showed a mass density enhancement of up to 50%. Further, the real-time GAIA simulation suggests that the actual thermospheric disturbances at 200 km altitude may occur with larger amplitude in a broader area than previously thought.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
JournalJournal of Space Weather and Space Climate
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science


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