They were sent into orbit to measure the Earth’s invisible magnetic field. But a cluster of scientific satellites have been suffering mysterious blackouts as they circle the planet. Scientists were left puzzled about why the three satellites launched by the European Space Agency have regularly lost their navigation signal when passing over the equator above the Atlantic Ocean.
Now they believe they may have uncovered the underlying cause of the strange loss in the GPS signal that helps control the satellites – thunderstorms high in the ionosphere. Professor Claudia Stolle, from the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Postdam, Germany, said the storms can cause the signal to the Swarm satellites to vanish for several minutes at a time. READ MORE