Nanosail orientation info from NSD team

From: Denise Moser (dennyzen@gmail.com)
Date: Sun Jan 23 2011 - 18:33:30 UTC

  • Next message: Viktor Voropaev: "Re: NanoSail-D not seen"

    >From the Nanosail folks:
    
    We might have to get new TLE's for NanoSail-D out to the public.  We will
    try to get them to the 4 locations.
    
    NanoSail-D dashboard
    Heavens-above
    n2yo.com
    calsky
    
    Also, we will be tumbling.  Here is an explanation from Dr. M. Whorton about
    the difficulty to see NanoSail-D.
    
    It needs to be illuminated by sunlight for it to be seen from the ground,
    and it needs to be seen against a dark sky for sufficient contrast (so it
    will stand out).  Since it flies at a relatively low orbit altitude, it is
    only illuminated by sunlight against a comparably dark background around
    dawn and dusk.  Early in the mission it will be tumbling, so it really
    doesn't matter where it is in the sky, but later in the mission it will be
    aerodynamically stabilized, meaning that the normal to the sail will point
    in the velocity vector direction.  That means you will see it edge on when
    it is directly overhead.  Best viewing times for the later phases of the
    mission (as the orbit decays and it enters more of the atmosphere) will tend
    to be closer to the horizon rather than directly overhead.  However, this is
    just general guidelines -- it will likely be good viewing just at all
    elevations as long as the sun has is close to setting or barely risen.
    
    Please relay to Ted and the others.  Thank you.
     NSD Team
    
    I'm looking forward to clearer skies next month when passes should be better
    for me.
    
    DM
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