[amsat-bb] Re: Geostationary Satellites

Paul Williamson kb5mu at amsat.org
Tue Oct 11 09:05:15 PDT 2011

On Oct 11, 2011, at 3:31 AM, Ken Ernandes wrote:
> For those believing in the large space, small satellite theory, the risk of collision is more real than one might think.

It must be, since I would think the risk of collision is so tiny as to be effectively negligible. If we position our satellite halfway between two of those commercial "slots", we have a huge buffer on either side. Now I realize that just measuring distances doesn't capture the whole story, and that orbital dynamics can be non-intuitive, but it boggles the mind that objects spaced that far apart can't be kept from colliding without extraordinary measures. 

I would say that I'd like to see the analysis to back up the worry, but I doubt I'd understand it. You would, though, so I can only ask whether you have seen the actual analysis and found it compelling.

Is there no clever trick of orbit design that can be used to avoid collision? We can afford bigger position errors than the commercial guys can, because we have smaller ground station antennas and no problem with interference crowding. We can even tolerate some long-term motion, since we can certainly accept an occasional adjustment to each ground station. Perhaps these extra freedoms would make it possible to design an orbit that's close enough to geosynchronous for our purposes, but far enough from the commercial orbits to be safe?

73  -Paul
kb5mu at amsat.org

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