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What's the fuss about perigee?

I don't understand why there are so many complaints that the AO40 footprint is small at perigee. Regardless of whether the perigee is 300 km, 500 km, or 2000 km, AO40 spends a trivial percentage of each orbit near perigee.  With the existing low perigee, AO40 is below 5000 km for only 4% of each orbital period.

As long as perigee is high enough for the orbit to be stable, does it really matter if we can't work AO40 near perigee?  It hardly seems worth the trouble because:
1. Doppler is obnoxious.
2. The footprint is small.
3. Access time is very short.
4. Perigee passes are relatively infrequent at any given location.

I regard a low perigee to be desirable because less time "near perigee" gives us more time "near apogee", where AO40 is much more useful for communication.

Wayne Estes W9AE
Mundelein, IL, USA

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