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Re: Shuttle question

At 12:09 PM 5/30/2008, Ronald Nutter wrote:
>How about one step further - Maybe they can "pick up" AO-40 and bring it
>back for a repair job ?

That would be extremely tricky.  I haven't done the sums, but there 
is a significant difference in velocity between AO-40 at perigee and 
a LEO.  However, the delta-V required would be well beyond the 
Shuttle's capabilities (Ever seen a Shuttle launched into 
GTO?).  Assuming someone had the money to pay for AO-40's return, 
you'd require some propulsion unit sent up to slow it down and 
circularize the orbit (possibly with the assistance of aerobraking 
over a period of time), before you could organise a Shuttle flight to 
pick it up.  Given the cost and the number of unknowns (like how safe 
would it be to carry AO-40 back, given we have no idea of its 
condition except that it's up there somewhere), I'd say the odds of 
this happening are essentially zero.

Interesting "thought experiment" though. :)

73 de VK3JED

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