Re: Superbird A secondary flashes

rkresken@esoc.esa.de
Mon, 22 Jun 1998 17:02:35 +0100

I am sure Rob's assumption about the spin axis orientation of Superbird A
is correct.
Energy dissipation will make any object that spins in an uncontrolled way
spin about the body axis with the highest moment of inertia. In the case of
Superbird A, this axis must be perpendicular to the solar panels.
     If a satellite's  operational spin axis is the one with the highest
moment of inertia,
this effect can be useful for passive nutation damping, if not, it can be
lethal
to a satellite and result in a so called "flat spin". Explorer 1 was the
first satellite
to fall victim to this effect and many followed.

Rainer Kresken