[amsat-bb] On imaging AO-40 from the HST or ISS...

Mark VandeWettering kf6kyi at gmail.com
Thu Oct 15 11:58:06 PDT 2009

> Not that it's practical, but what could Hubble see?  The first question
> would be can it be positioned to stare "down", and then how well
> would it see something that close and fast?

The HST is actually pretty interesting.  It's in a 550 or so km orbit,
which means that it's close approach to AO-40 would be about 500km.
More importantly, it has a 2.4m mirror, which works out to about 94
inches.   In theory, it's maximum resolving power is about 0.05 arc
seconds, which at 500km (ballpark of the closest range it could
achieve) would be on the order of 5 inches.   I have no idea what the
tracking requirements would be and whether it could image such an
object, but I have little doubt that there are military satellites
with that capability.

The JWST (scheduled to launch in... 2014 or so?) has an aperature in
excess of six meters, and would result in a corresponding increase in
resolving power.

The ISS has a nominal orbit altitude of around 350km, so would be a
more challenging, and doesn't carry the kind of optical instruments
that the HST carries.

73 Mark K6HX

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