INFLUENCES OF SMALL DIFFERENCES IN BALLISTIC COEFFICIENT OF SATELLITE STATION KEEPING,
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CALIF
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This note presents the results of an investigation on the drift distance between two satellites caused by a small difference in ballistic coefficient which might be due to differences in weight, frontal area, geometry, and surface roughness. Other perturbing mechanisms, such as the earths oblateness, variation of earths gravity field, the gravity effects of the sun and moon, and magnetic field have secondary effects which apply almost equally to each satellite and will therefore be neglected. The present analysis is also limited to circular orbits at altitudes less than 400 mi where atmospheric drag has the dominating effect on orbit decay, and where the effects of solar radiation pressure are also negligible.