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The long term behaviour of Earth orbits and the implications for debris controlGEO orbits with inclinations which remain less than 45 degrees are very stable. Although the inclination of the orbital plane may vary as much as 15 degrees over a period of about 50 years, the orbit altitude will always remain within a few hundred kilometers of geosynchronous altitude, GEO orbits with inclinations greater than 45 degrees exhibit remarkable instabilities ir the eccentricity due to gravitational resonance. Over a period of a century the eccentricity can reach such a large value that reentry is a possibility. The combined effects of the Sun, Moon, and oblate Earth play a significant role in determining the lifetime of a GEO transfer orbit. Depending on the initial orientation of the orbital plane with respect to the Sun and Moon, lifetimes may vary from under 6 months to over several hundred years. Transfer orbits with inclinations over 45 degrees show strong instabilities in the perigee altitude resulting in generally short lifetimes of less than a few years. All transfer orbits can be designed to decay within one year if the initial perigee altitude is less than 231 km. However, there are restrictions on orbit plane placement and time of year of launch.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Mueller, A. C.
(Texas Univ. Austin, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Orbital Debris
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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