Lifetime and reentry prediction for the Petite Amateur Navy Satellite (PANSAT)
Cuff, Daniel J.
Ross, I. Michael
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The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) is developing a small satellite for digital communications in the amateur frequency band. The Petite Amateur Navy Satellite (PANSAT) will primarily act as an orbiting spread-spectrum communications laboratory, possesses neither an attitude control nor a propulsion system and is designed to 'tumble' along its orbital path once it is released from the launch vehicle which is scheduled to be the Space Shuttle. An explanation of the many variables and assumptions affecting PANSAT is provided as insight for the lifetime and reentry predictions. Using a conservative approach, results from combining altitudes and inclinations from expected Space Shuttle missions, solar flux and magnetic indicies from three different sources, and the use of an orbital propagator program, LIFETIME 4.1, which was developed by Aerospace Corporation, attest that the minimum 2 year lifetime requirement for PANSAT will be met by 9 Shuttle missions between July 1996 and December 1997. A reentry analysis concluded that PANSAT will experience sufficient aerodynamic forces to cause structural failure and breakup during atmospheric reentry.
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