RE: very low altitude satellite

From: Ted Molczan (molczan@rogers.com)
Date: Sat Jan 24 2004 - 16:39:44 EST

  • Next message: Kevin Fetter: "RE: very low altitude satellite"

    Frank Reed wrote:
    
    > KFetter wrote:
    > "Boy, this one perigee is sure low. 
    > MOLNIYA 3-44                                     1691 x 81 km
    > 1 22633U 93025A   04024.35340688  .64355414  10539-4  59716-3 0  6758
    > 2 22633  63.4445 325.0802 1107602 246.2651 101.9556 14.02263398 80987"
    > 
    > Wow. Is that low enough to produce a visible glow in the thin 
    > air at that altitude?
    
    Yes it is. Stephen Bolton observed this phenomenon in 1996. Here is the URL of
    his report and that of my analysis:
    
    http://satobs.org/seesat/Aug-1996/0151.html
    
    http://satobs.org/seesat/Aug-1996/0153.html
    
    Too bad the perigee of MOLNIYA 3-44 is not well placed for observation. Using
    the above elset, I compute:
    
    latitude of perigee = asin(sin(inc) * sin(arg perigee))
    
                        = asin(sin(63.4) * sin(246.3))
    
                        = -55 = 55 deg S
    
    > And it's dropping fast. The TLE on Heavens-Above is from five 
    > weeks ago and has the apogee above 22,000km:
    
    It is a victim of the luni-solar perturbations that eventually destroy most
    Molniya and GTO orbits, by pushing their perigee deep into the upper atmosphere.
    Solar radiation pressure produces similar effects on objects having a very low
    density.
    
    Ted Molczan
    
    
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