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Waspie_Dwarf

Inquiry into satellite glitch

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Inquiry into satellite glitch focuses on Sea Launch rocket

Sea Launch officials are poring over data from the June 1 launch of the Intelsat 19 communications satellite to determine whether the company's Zenit rocket may have damaged the spacecraft during ascent from an ocean-based platform in the Pacific Ocean.

Intelsat 19 did not deploy one of its two solar panels as planned following separation from the Sea Launch Zenit 3SL rocket about one hour after liftoff from the company's Odyssey launch platform positioned at the equator in the central Pacific Ocean.

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Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
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Inquiry into satellite glitch focuses on Sea Launch rocket

Sounds like a job for the X 37B !!

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Sounds like a job for the X 37B !!

Not really. The X-37B is designed for low earth orbit. Intelsat is designed for geostationary orbit. The X-37B is about 22,000 miles too low to be of any use even if it did carry enough fuel to make huge changes in orbital plane.

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Not really. The X-37B is designed for low earth orbit. Intelsat is designed for geostationary orbit. The X-37B is about 22,000 miles too low to be of any use even if it did carry enough fuel to make huge changes in orbital plane.

Well THAT"S unfortunate....though I expect it's mission could be adapted if the needs were pressing enough. I'm interested in just what the thing is fit for if it's so limited. Sounds almost like a glorified satellite with wings and relaunch capability. I guess I envision a vehicle that could be used for repair work of this type but I can see how fuel would be a problem especially since time on station seems to be a major goal.

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Well THAT"S unfortunate....though I expect it's mission could be adapted if the needs were pressing enough. I'm interested in just what the thing is fit for if it's so limited.

It's not unfortunate, it's basic orbital mechanics. Besides do you really think that the US military would divert a highly secret, highly expensive mission to examine or repair a civilian communications satellite?

So limited? Just because it can't do something that no other satellite can do or has ever been able to do? You can hardly accuse something of being limited because your own expectations are unrealistic.

Sounds almost like a glorified satellite with wings and relaunch capability.

That is essentially what it is. That is essentially what the space shuttle was. It's what they carry in their payload bays, and more importantly, the ability to return that payload back to earth that makes them special.

I guess I envision a vehicle that could be used for repair work of this type

It possibly could carry out such a mission IF it had been equipped to do so before launch. As it was launched a year before the Intelsat it's highly unlikely that it's payload by would be equipped for such a mission. Even if it was set up for a repair mission it would only be able to do so on a satellite in low earth orbit, not one in geostationary orbit.

The ISS orbits 230 miles up. The shuttle achieved a maximum altitude of 385 miles. Spy satellites and earth observation satellites typically orbit at around these height too. Communications satellites need to operate in an orbit that keeps them constantly over one point on earth (if they didn't operate in this way satellite tv would be a total pain. The dish would have to accurately move so as to track the satellite and the signal would be lost every time the satellite disappeared over the horizon). The orbit needed to do this is 22,500 miles up. That is the reason for my comment about it being 22,000 miles too low.

but I can see how fuel would be a problem especially since time on station seems to be a major goal.

It's not the length of time in space that is the main problem (the moon has been orbiting the Earth for billions of years but hasn't used any fuel at all). The real problem is that changing orbit, particularly orbital plane, consumes large amounts of fuel. This is the reason why vehicles launched to the ISS, such as the recently launched Dragon, have an instantaneous launch window. Launch them even 30 seconds late and they will not be in the same orbital plane as the ISS. They would not have enough manoeuvring fuel to reach the ISS. Same thing with the X-39B. Even though by satellite standards it seems to be very maneuverable, it simply can't go off and rendezvous with any random object that takes the US Air Force's fancy.

The best way to sum up is to paraphrase Montgomery "Scotty" Scott,

Ye cannae change the laws of physics!

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and then

Please refrain from irrelevant ad hom attacks.

~Dot

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and then

Please refrain from irrelevant ad hom attacks.

~Dot

No problem on my end. It's not the first time I've received such odd comments in response to simple, sincere posts. I will steer completely clear of the silliness in the future.

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