SpaceX, Iridium boast of resilience during geomagnetic storm


A massive geomagnetic storm hit Earth on May 10-11, prompting the FCC to investigate its effects on telecom networks. Now, satellite companies, including SpaceX and Iridium, are detailing their experiences.

A "once-in-a-generation" geomagnetic storm in May had little effect on the satellite operations of both Iridium and SpaceX's Starlink, the companies told the FCC.

"Iridium thanks the commission for the opportunity [to] discuss [the] impact of the storm on satellite network operations and is proud to report that Iridium's resilient network handled the storm extremely well with no service impact to its customers, due in large part to Iridium's experience operating satellites and its advanced network equipment," the company wrote in a filing to the FCC this week. Iridium sells satellite services to a variety of customers, including those in the telecom industry.

SpaceX offered a similar take.

"While equivalent terrestrial storms like hurricanes of this magnitude have knocked out ground-based networks, SpaceX was fortunately able to maintain service throughout the May solar storm," the company wrote. "Indeed, on the day of the storm's peak on May 11, the average Starlink user saw less than one minute of disruption. Since then, SpaceX's satellite communications have continued nominally without degradation for users."

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