A rocket launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX tore a temporary hole in the ionosphere surrounding our planet, claimed a report on Spaceweather.com. The Falcon 9 rocket was launched on July 19 from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. According to the company’s website, it is a reusable, two-stage rocket for reliable and safe transportation of people and payloads to Earth orbit and beyond. SpaceX also said that it is the world’s first orbital class reusable rocket. Falcon 9 has done 240 launches and 198 landings.
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A faint red glow was observed in photographs of the July 19 launch, which were studied by space physicist Jeff Baumgardner of Boston University. After reviewing footage of the launch, he said the red glow indicated a hole in the ionosphere. “It’s a well-studied phenomenon when rockets are firing their engines 200 to 300 km above the Earth’s surface,” Baumgardner told spaceweather.com.
He said, “I reviewed footage of the July 19 launch. It shows the second stage engine burn at 286 km near the F-region peak at that time of day. Therefore, it is quite possible that an ionospheric ‘hole’ was created.”
The ionosphere is located at the edge of space and is filled with charged particles called ions. The ionosphere is important because it reflects and modifies radio waves used for communication and navigation. A hole in the ionosphere can affect the GPS system, causing the accuracy of the location to change by a few feet. However, according to Newsweek, at this point it was not very important.
In the future, with increasingly powerful rockets, it is possible that the effect of launch on the ionosphere may worsen, leading to more significant effects on GPS. Charles CH Lin of National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan is quoted as saying, “Humans are entering an era where rocket launches are becoming common and frequent due to the low cost of reusable rockets. Meanwhile, humans are developing more powerful rockets to send cargo to other planets. These two factors will gradually affect the middle and upper atmosphere more, and it is very important to pay attention now.”
Please tell that a similar incident related to this rocket had happened earlier also. According to Science Times, Falcon 9 was launched on August 24, 2017 from Vanderburg Space Force Base carrying FORMOSAT-5 payload, even then something similar was seen.
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