Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pages 81-82 of an Air Force Communications Manual

orbits.jpg

The pages shown below are from an October 1st, 1999 Air Force training manual for communications and electronics managers:

af-1.jpg

af-2.jpg

What exactly would the Air Force be looking for 3,000 nautical miles and 22,000 nautical miles above the Earth?

Surely not the moon, or incoming missiles – one much to far away and missiles launched for heights much lower that 3000 nautical miles.

And asynchronous satellites orbit at 400 miles above the Earth, while polar satellites orbit much lower than that, and geostationary satellites orbit at 22,223 miles above the Earth or rather less than 22,000 nautical miles.

So the question, again, is “What exactly is the Air Force looking for between 3000 nautical miles and 22,000 nautical miles above the Earth?”

A further reading of Air Force manuals hint at the purposes for the Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System, as this one indicates: The Air Force uses the system for “detection, tracking, and identification of space objects” – UFOs?

5 Comments:

Blogger Smokes said...

No big deal.
There are for observing, tracking & documenting 'space junk': rocket boosters, pieces of damaged or abandoned satellites that float around out there in the high traffic area where other satellites & shuttles travel. Other things 'out there' include tools dropped by astronauts while on EVAs, and also fragments of that satellite destroyed by the Chinese last year. They may be small but because they are travelling at such high speeds, are a potential danger to other vehicles. There are tens of thousands of these feral objects up there.

Smokes

May 06, 2007  
Blogger RRRGroup said...

Smokes,

All the items you list do not appear in orbits at the 3000 or 22,000 nautical mile spots above the Earth.

May 07, 2007  
Blogger Moonman7 said...

You are right that most satellites don't frequent such altitudes (due mainly to the radiation belt and how it adversely affects satellite life).

However there are communications
satellites (Sirius Satellite and especially Russian sats) which use use these type of orbits (Molniya, Tundra orbit).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highly_Elliptical_Orbit

Also see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_Data_System
which go from "300 kilometers at perigee to roughly 39,000 km at apogee"

Of course, satellites specifically designed to gather data to quantify the radiation belt have been/will be flown that pass through the range in question.

Debris/rocket bodies fly through the altitude range you refer to (an elliptical orbit around Earth rather than out-bound to the Moon or the beyond).

The following are some examples(ID#,name,code,nation, launch date, orbit period, inclination, apogee-km, perigee-km, projected area-m^2):

25631,ATLAS 2AS CENTAUR R/B, 1999-006B,US,1999-02-16,2122.01,25.6,
96381,264,?

20352,GRANAT,1989-096A,CIS, 1989-12-01,5894.67,48.79,
203220,211,1.6

20354,SL-12 R/B,1989-096C,CIS, 1989-12-01,5780.9,51.24,
200573,67,1.9

26667,ARIANE 44P R/B,2001-002B,FR, 2001-01-10,648.99,6.51,
36742,163,15.8

23780,ATLAS 2AS CENTAUR R/B, 1996-006B,US,1996-02-01,1926.98,21.9,
89681,153,5.0

23658,ATLAS 2AS CENTAUR R/B,
1995-043B,US,1995-08-29,1639.2,22.89,
79178,170,1.0

23804, DELTA 2 R/B(2),1996-013C,US,
1996-02-24,934.5,86.2,
50344,226,3.0

14306,COSMOS 1456 DEB,1983-038J, CIS,1983-04-25,720.5,64.5,
39932,558,.9

751,SL-3 R/B, 1964-006D,CIS, 1964-01-30,148.46,56.26,
5730,89,11.3

14301,COSMOS 1456 DEB,1983-038H,
CIS, 1983-04-25,718.89,63.8,
39560,849,1.1

24881,ATLAS 2AS CENTAUR R/B, 1997-036B,US,1997-07-28,1911.14,25.6, 89048,223,31.6

25355,CZ-3B R/B, 1998-033B,PRC, 1998-05-30,1713.08, 22.44,
81942,153,7.9

25517,ARIANE 42L R/B,1998-063C,FR, 1998-10-28,633.56, 6.5,
35931,184,12.5

18983,SL-6 R/B(2),1988-022D,CIS, 1988-03-17,729.21, 61.98,
40728,189,7.1

These are just a few.

Also, the manual says "to BEYOND 22,000 nautical miles". Who knows the real limit?

May 08, 2007  
Blogger RRRGroup said...

Thanks, Moonman7.

As usual you are astute and your information enlightening.

The rest of the document, from which the excerpt appears, is rather large (183 pages) so we didn't place it online, but it does also hint at other reasons for checking the above-Earth areas cited, and those reasons aren't satellite related.

We'll have more about this upcoming.

May 08, 2007  
Blogger Rich said...

Exactly! I'd like to see more posted on this though!

May 08, 2007  

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