RE: USA 193 graphic.............

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Fri Feb 29 2008 - 10:18:43 UTC

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    John Locker wrote: 
    > This morning there were about forty trackable peces of debris 
    > at orbits right through LEO to just under 1800km As can be 
    > seen in the above graphic ( Courtesy Nova For win ), thats 
    > quite a ring of steel...
    A ring of mostly empty space is more realistic.
    As I write, elements of 42 pieces are available. Perigee ranges from 157 km to
    244 km, median 233 km. Apogee ranges from 192 km to 2689 km, median 589 km.
    Their planes span about 17 deg.
    The total volume of space between the median perigee and apogee is 206 billion
    cubic kilometres. The portion within the 17 deg planar span of the debris, is
    19.5 billion cubic kilometres. 
    Forty-one (41) of the catalogued pieces spend some of their time within this
    volume, which yields an average density of about one USA 193 piece per 475
    million cubic kilometres.
    Of course, the total density of debris in LEO from all orbital launches is much
    greater, especially considering the multitude of particles too small to track,
    but large enough to do harm. However, USA 193's contribution is a very brief
    spike of modest size.
    Ted Molczan
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