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The Effect of Atmospheric Oblateness on a Satellite Orbit

  • D. G. King-Hele

Abstract

The Effect of Atmospheric Oblateness on a Satellite Orbit. The most serious perturbations to the orbit of an earth satellite are usually those caused by air drag. The simplest equations to specify the evolution of an orbit under the action of air drag are given; then, after a survey of the upper atmosphere which indicates that the atmosphere shares the ellipticity of the earth beneath it, the corresponding equations for an oblate atmosphere are formulated. Finally, numerical results are given which show that the effect of atmospheric oblateness can alter the spherical-atmosphere results by up to 30% for some orbits, though for the majority of orbits the effect is much smaller, and 5% would be a more representative figure.

Keywords

Semi Major Axis Earth Satellite Satellite Orbit Artificial Satellite Discoverer Satellite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Zusammenfassung

Der Einfluß der atmosphärischen Abplattung auf Satellitenbahnen. Die bekannteste Bahnstörung wird durch den Luftwiderstand hervorgerufen. Stark vereinfachte Gleichungen für die Bahn eines Satelliten unter Berücksichtigung des Luftwiderstandes werden angegeben, wobei nachher auch die atmosphärische Abplattung berücksichtigt wird. Schließlich werden numerische Resultate angegeben, die zeigen, daß der Effekt der atmosphärischen Abplattung Änderungen der Bahn gegenüber der kugelsymmetrischen Atmosphäre bis zu 30% bewirken kann. Allerdings ist für den Großteil der Bahnen der Effekt viel kleiner und kann größenordnungsmäßig etwa mit 5% angenommen werden.

Résumé

Effet de Paplatissement de Patmosphère sur les orbites des satellites. Les perturbations les plus sérieuses du mouvement orbital ont été celles causées par la résistance de l’air, qui enlève au satellite un peu d’énergie à chaque révolution, pour éventuellement anéantir le mouvement orbital. Du fait que la résistance de l’air est plus grande dans la section de l’orbite proche du périgée, son effet principal est de retarder le satellite chaque fois qu’il passe au périgée, avec comme résultat que le satellite ne va pas être lancé aussi loin dans le côté opposé de la terre, qu’à sa révolution précédente. Des résultats numériques sont fournis montrant comment la contraction de l’orbite sous l’influence du frottement de l’air peut être affectée par l’aplatissement de l’atmosphère. Les résultats obtenus avec l’hypothèse d’une atmosphère sphérique sont peu modifiés par l’introduction de l’hypothèse de son aplatissement; toutefois des changements atteignant 30% peuvent survenir pour des orbites particulièrement sensibles à ce phénomène.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1962

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. G. King-Hele
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Aircraft EstablishmentFarnborough, HantsEngland

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