So excuse the randomness - I’m at work, but without a flight at the moment, and was perusing some news when I came across the tidbit of news about the DirecTV satellite that is reportedly (by Boeing) in danger of exploding if its batteries are used after something damaged them. What I found interesting while reading the article as that they plan to move it up and into a higher “graveyard” orbit far above the geo-stationary orbit it is currently in.
“Barring technical failures, the FCC requires licensed satellite operators to vent onboard propellant before moving satellites into the graveyard orbit.”
So I was thinking to myself…well, certainly it would be better to bring it down and let the atmosphere take care of it…so a reentry type burn. So I Googled “Graveyard orbit” and was surprised about this fact:
“A graveyard orbit is used when the change in velocity required to perform a de-orbit maneuver is too large. De-orbiting a geostationary satellite requires a delta-v of about 1,500 metres per second (4,900 ft/s), whereas re-orbiting it to a graveyard orbit only requires about 11 metres per second (36 ft/s).”
I thought that was pretty nifty…and I’m sure I don’t understand it, but I also don’t understand why my cat sniffs the other cat’s butt every time he comes in the house.