On the secular decrease in the semimajor axis of Lageos orbit
- Rubincam, D. P.
- Jul 1, 1980.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available. and Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- The semimajor axis of the Lageos orbit is decreasing secularly at the rate of -1.1 mm/day due to an unknown force. Nine possible mechanisms are investigated. Five of the mechanisms, resonance with the Earth's gravitational field, gravitational radiation, the Poynting-Robertson effect, transfer of spin angular momentum to the orbital angular momentum, and drag from near Earth dust are ruled out because they are too small to require unacceptable assumptions to account for the observed rate. Three other mechanisms, the Yarkovsky effect, the Schach effect, and terrestrial radiation pressure could possibly give the proper order of magnitude for the decay rate, but the characteristic signatures of these perturbations do not agree with the observed secular decrease. Atmospheric drag from a combination of charged and neutral particles is the most likely cause for the orbital decay. This mechanism explains at least 71 percent of the observed rate of decrease of the semimajor axis.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19800022920., Accession ID: 80N31426., and NASA-TM-80734.
- No Copyright.
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