THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE AND ITS INFLUENCE ON SATELLITE ORBITS.
ROYAL AIRCRAFT ESTABLISHMENT FARNBOROUGH (ENGLAND)
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The chief variations in upper-atmosphere density are described, and it is shown how each of them affects the orbits of close Earth satellites. The main features discussed are 1 the irregular variations in density dependent on solar activity, which may cause great changes in a few days, as well as a 27-day recurrence tendency 2 the day-to-night and semi-annual variations in density, which cause nearly-periodic changes in orbits for the day-to-night variation the period is usually between 2 months and 2 years, while the semi-annual effect leads to maxima of density in April and October, and minima in January and July and 3 the large changes in density during a sunspot cycle, which give rise to a 10- or 11-year recurrence tendency. The changes in orbital inclination caused by the rotation of the atmosphere are also described. Author
- Atmospheric Physics
- Spacecraft Trajectories and Reentry