On the Motion of Echo I-Type Earth Satellites

by Louis N. Rowell, Myron C. Smith, W. L. Sibley


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A study to determine whether balloon-type communication satellites remain sufficiently stable to be economically competitive with other means of communication. During certain orientations of Echo I, perturbing forces due to solar radiation pressure and air drag operate in the same direction, so the decrease in perigee altitude is rapid. At other times, the opposing forces counteract each other. Examples give uses of these effects to influence orbital altitude and, consequently, satellite lifetime.

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