Upper-Atmosphere Rotation Rate from Analysis of the Orbital Inclination of Explorer 1
ROYAL AIRCRAFT ESTABLISHMENT FARNBOROUGH (UNITED KINGDOM)
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Explorer 1, 1958 alpha, the first US artificial satellite, was launched on 1 February 1958 and remained in orbit for 12 years. In this report theoretical curves have been fitted to the values of inclination, giving three values of the average atmospheric rotation rate at heights of 350-400 km, and latitudes 0-20 degrees Feb 1958 to mid 1960, 1.5 revday Mid 1960 to Dec 1967, 1.2 revday Jan 1968 to Mar 1970, 1.3 revday. Solar activity was very high in 1958-60, low from 1961 to 1967, and high in 1968-70 so the results strongly suggest that the rotation rate depends on solar activity, being greatest when the Sun is most active.
- Atmospheric Physics
- Spacecraft Trajectories and Reentry