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VP Gore's Proposal



>From MSNBC Online:

WASHINGTON, March 13 — Under instructions from Vice President Al Gore, NASA
is scrambling to put a satellite in space that for the first time would
broadcast live, video pictures of the Earth 24 hours a day on the Internet
and television outlets. The project is expected to cost between $20 million
and $50 million. Gore sees it as an invaluable resource for scientific,
educational and weather research.
	It would show hurricanes and other threatening weather patterns,
forest fires, cloud formations and other phenomena in real time, officials
said Thursday.
(snip)
      From a stationary orbit 1 million miles away in space, the satellite’s
high-definition, color camera would provide the first-ever continuous
pictures of a sunlit Earth against the blackness of space.
(snip)
       The video pictures would be put on the Internet and made available to
television outlets for broadcast. The satellite’s position would keep it
constantly aimed at the hemisphere of the Earth that is in full sunlight
against the blackness of space.
(snip)
       There are no full-Earth images currently available, though existing
satellites track regions of the world.
       
       © 1998 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not
be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 
----------
Sounds like a great idea, but I am having difficulty with the orbital
dynamics....

>From an earthbound frame of reference (FOR): easy for me...retrograde
equatorial orbit with an orbital period of one rev/day.

>From the bird's FOR: retrograde equatorial orbit with an orbital period of
one rev/day.  Sun at it's 'back', earth below.

Now this is where I start having problems:

Solar Frame of Reference: Orbital period of 365 day's, oscillating above and
below the Earth's orbital plane (due to equatorial position).

Top of Solar System FOR: Satellite moves as if on a tether running from the
sun to the earth, staying in a earth eclipse position at all times.

I can picture all for of these frames simultaneously (although it took some
time) but is it feasible?  From the last two frames of reference, the
satellite 'appears' to be in solar orbit, not earth orbit.  Would the craft
need additional fuel for regular orbital corrections?  Could it be
maintained in a circular orbit or would it need some elliptical component?

Lastly:  Would this craft need any kind of special cooling system given that
it will constantly be in sun and not have an 'eclipse period to cool
components?

And in complete sarcasm: Now if we could only get the VP to pledge to put
NASA Select (live and Real Time) on every computer and TV, boy, wouldn't
that be nice??  :-)

Thanks in advance for all your responses.

73 de KD6FYT

Ralph G. Sbragia, CHST
Construction Safety Administrator
Los Angeles County Transportation Authority
sbragiar@mta.net (work)
sbragiar@deltanet.com (home)



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