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Re: AO-40 - Longevity

On Monday, Jun 2, 2003, at 15:57 US/Central, Fred Kennedy wrote:

> Hi Guys,
>               Required for a memorial address.  How long is AO-40
> expected to remain in orbit?   Hundreds/thousands of years? Note:
> Not how long will it remain active - a lesser figure I'm sure!!
>    Thanks for any help.
> 73
> Fred Kennedy
> Zl1BYP

Probably until some random impactor collides with it, or until its 
perigee gets low enough to encounter significant atmospheric drag.  If 
it starts brushing the atmosphere its apogee will start to get lower 
pretty quickly, and it will eventually deorbit naturally.  There has 
been no propulsion on board since the propellant "event" shortly after 
launch when AMSAT was still trying to get it into a slightly different 
orbit, so there will be no way to force it to deorbit -- once it 
reaches the point where it is no longer usable it will continue to 
orbit pretty much where it is until the orbit naturally decays .. no 
info on when that will be, but the altitude at apogee is the critical 
factor, as is the probability of major solar activity raising the upper 
atmosphere to the point where the drag becomes significant ..

"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve
life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out
death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends." -- Gandalf

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