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Satellite Drag Atmospheric Density

NSSDCA ID: 1960-014A-07

Mission Name: Explorer 8
Principal Investigator:Dr. Luigi G. Jacchia

Description

Because of its symmetrical shape, Explorer 8 was selected for use in determining upper atmospheric densities as a function of altitude, latitude, season, and solar activity. This experiment was not planned prior to launch. Density values near perigee were deduced from sequential observations of the spacecraft position, using optical (Baker-Nunn camera network) and radio and/or radar tracking techniques. A good discussion of the general techniques used to deduce density values from satellite drag data can be found in L. G. Jacchia and J. Slowey, "Accurate drag determination for eight artificial satellites of atmospheric densities and temperatures," Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory special report n. 100, Cambridge, Mass., July 1962. This experiment resulted in the successful determination of reasonable density values and is capable of yielding long-term atmospheric density values as Explorer 8 has an expected orbital lifetime of 80 yr.

Alternate Names

  • Explorer8/SatelliteDragAtmosphericDensity

Funding Agencies

  • Department of Defense-Department of the Air Force United States
  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications United States

Discipline

  • Earth Science: Atmospheric Dynamics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

 

Personnel

NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Jack W. SloweyOther InvestigatorSmithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Dr. Luigi G. JacchiaPrincipal InvestigatorSmithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
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