Satellite Charge-Up as a Means of Maintaining the Shape of Echo-Type Satellites in the Outer Van Allen Belt

by Richard Hundley


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An examination of the possibility of Echo-type satellites maintaining their shape by acquiring negative electrostatic potentials in the outer Van Allen belt. Based on calculations of the repulsive force of these potentials versus the principal forces tending to cause satellite collapse, it is concluded that the charge-up method of maintaining satellite shape would probably not be useful for opaque satellites. For partially transparent balloon satellites at the center of the outer Van Allen belt, the method might be useful part of the time. For partially transparent satellites at the lower edge of the outer Van Allen belt, the method would be, at best, marginally useful.

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