Geodetic Significance of a Minimum Satellite Vehicle
determine large distances across the surface of the Earth, especially over bodies of water, which are difficult to measure. This would furnish the basic tool for large scale triangulation;
determine the gravitational constant “g”. This would be an average g for the entire Earth;
determine the oblateness of the Earth.
This vehicle, which might better be called a beacon would circle the Earth at an altitude of 200 miles and reflect sunlight to the Earth. To an observer on the Earth it would appear brighter than a first magnitude star. Photography of the moving beacon would furnish the necessary data to compute an orbit and then use the orbit to determine the above characteristics.
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- 1.L. Spitzer Jr., Perturbations of a Satellite Orbit. J. Brit. Interplan. Soc. 9, 131 (1950).Google Scholar