Re: Satellite colours

Ralph McConahy (
Tue, 10 Aug 1999 16:50:26 -0700

Paul Henney wrote:
>Sorry if this has been covered before but  observing both UARS and Lacrosse
>3 over the weekend I was struck by their distinctive orange colouration
>compared to other sats.
>Is this just an atmos. artefact from my observing position for bright sats
>(Sheffield, UK, +200M alt) or does it reflect (sorry about the pun)
>someting about the actual colour/coating of the sats??


What you see comes from the actual color of the satellites. This color comes
from a multi-layer thermal blanket made of an aluminum-coated polyamide film
called Kapton (made by DuPont). These thermal blankets minimize the heat
flow in and out of the spacecraft.

For pictures of Lacrosse, showing the orange color, see:

  Ralph McConahy
  34.8829N  117.0064W  670m