Iridium removal

From: Tony Beresford (
Date: Sun Mar 19 2000 - 17:00:41 PST

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    fellow seesaters,
    the low thrust nature of the orbit adjustment capabilities
    of the Iridium satellites would it seems to me preclude
    any possiblity of a controlled re-entry in the proper
    sense of the word, since this requires the satellite
    perigee to go from a "safe" height of say 150Km,
    to a must decay height of say 75Km in a time interval
    less than the orbital period ( say 90 minutes).
    By deliberately creating an eccentric orbit and making the
    perigee point over the southern apex it might be possible
    to insure that re-entry took place over antartica or
    it surrounds, but it would require some finesse. All this takes
    are 10 minute bursts along against the velocity vector at
    northern apex. This requires the satellite orientation
    be maintained so that flares should be predictable
    during such events
    Does anybody have numbers on the velocity change 
    in the satellites?. This of course governs how
    low a perigee could be had. I suspect all that
    can be done is to lower perigee to 250-300Km
    and let the atmosphere do the rest.
    Tony Beresford
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