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Thread: One more bad bit in Space Cowboys (SPOILER)

  1. #1
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    Just saw this movie a week or so ago, and when the shuttle sneaks up on IKON, Donald Sutherland says "That thing must be fifty tons! No wonder the orbit is decaying!"

    But, the mass of the satellite would not contribute to decay, just to launch/attitude control cost.

  2. #2
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    To be honest I didn't really pay attention to all that after they said they "left the Earth's gravitational field" and that they had to get halfway to the moon and what would happen if they jumped on a trampoline in space then I went nuts and watched some more lion reproduction movie at my local IMAX theater. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  3. #3
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    On 2001-12-01 01:47, douglips wrote:
    But, the mass of the satellite would not contribute to decay, just to launch/attitude control cost.
    Unless everybody had been running it as if it were smaller. But then, there would have been plentiful notice that it was too heavy. Like when they tried to do their first correction and basically nothing happened...

    ben

  4. #4
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    On 2001-12-01 01:47, douglips wrote:

    But, the mass of the satellite would not contribute to decay, just to launch/attitude control cost.
    If anything, I think it would be just the opposite: the more massive the satellite (relative to its surface), the longer it would take its orbit to decay.

    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  5. #5
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    I think you're right, for simple shapes. A higher density would reduce the effect of drag from the thin atmosphere at orbital altitudes.

    Of course, real satellites are not such simple shapes, and such things as the size and orientation of the solar panels would probably overwhelm the effect of the density of the "chassis".

    This brings to mind the original Star Trek series, in which the Enterprise kept losing its engines and getting into trouble with decaying orbits. Okay, it was just a plot device... but I always felt that Starfleet should have told its navigators to park their ships somewhat higher -- and give themselves a century or two to make repairs.


    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Donnie B. on 2001-12-03 14:28 ]</font>

  6. #6
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    On 2001-12-03 14:27, Donnie B. wrote:

    This brings to mind the original Star Trek series, in which the Enterprise kept losing its engines and getting into trouble with decaying orbits. Okay, it was just a plot device... but I always felt that Starfleet should have told its navigators to park their ships somewhat higher -- and give themselves a century or two to make repairs.
    But then where would the drama and adventure be then? It'd end up being boring. Instead of TOS lasting for three years, it never would have lasted a half a season. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]

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    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: James on 2001-12-03 19:17 ]</font>

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