Re: Satellites launched into wrong orbit

From: Jonathan T Wojack (tlj18@juno.com)
Date: Fri Jul 13 2001 - 14:20:00 PDT

  • Next message: JAY RESPLER: "STS LAUNCH SEEN"

    > "Liftoff of the tenth Ariane 5 occurred right on schedule at 2158 
    > GMT (5:58
    > p.m. EDT) from the jungle launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, 
    > beginning a
    > 34-minute flight that was supposed to propel its dual-satellite 
    > cargo into
    > an elliptical transfer orbit around Earth. The intended orbit 
    > featured a
    > high point of 35,853 km, low point of 858 km and inclination of 2.0 
    > degrees
    > to either side of the equator.
    > 
    > But a "defect" in the rocket's upper stage relegated the cargo to an 
    > orbit
    > with a high point of only 17,528 km, a low point of 592 km and 
    > inclination
    > of 2.9 degrees to the equator."
    
    Spaceflightnow.com is reporting that it is unsure whether or not the
    spacecraft has enough fuel to reach the intended orbit.  Questions:
    
    1)  Will they try to get it into the correct orbit, even if they may not
    have enough fuel to do so (if it's an unknown) ?  That could be kind of
    risky, since if they run out of fuel before getting into the right orbit,
    it will eventually dip into low Earth orbit and cause risk to other
    satellites.
    
    2)  If there is insufficient fuel, would they plummet the spacecraft into
    Earth's atmosphere?  Or settle for a lower orbit which would take the
    satellite all around the Earth?
    
    ------------------------------
    Jonathan T. Wojack                 tlj18@juno.com
    39.706d N   75.683d W           
    
    4 hours behind UT (-4)
    
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