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Preferred Phase 3 Orbits



Why is a highly inclined orbit desirable for a Phase 3 satellite?

Wouldn't a high, elliptical, 16-hour orbit at near zero inclination
be quite satisfactory, especially if oriented so that the three
apogee locations that recurred every 48 hours had views of:
  1) Europe/Africa to Asia/Austrialia
  2) Asia/Australia to North/South America
  3) North/South America to Europe/Africa

This would seem to have the advantage of not "favoring" either
the northern or southern hemisphere.  (Or more to the point, not
putting either hemisphere at a disadvantage.)

I suppose it would mean that Alaska might never have a path to
western Europe/Africa, and a QSO from the middle of the Pacific
Ocean to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean would be unlikely, but
those seem to be small prices to pay.

It would presumably also be easier to attain with less maneuvering,
starting from an initial GTO like we get from Arianespace launches.

I'm probably overlooking something that's obvious to someone who can
mentally visualize satellite orbital mechanics as well as I can
mentally visualize the absorption, distribution, parallel linear and
nonlinear metabolism, and renal excretion of drugs in human beings.

Though the question is prompted by the possibility that we may
have to re-think our target orbit for AO-40, it seems applicable
to future Phase 3 missions also.

John Toscano, KB0ZEV
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