Effects of Solar Radiation Pressure on Earth Satellite Orbits

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Science  25 Mar 1960:
Vol. 131, Issue 3404, pp. 920-921
DOI: 10.1126/science.131.3404.920


Calculations show that, at a mean altitude of 1000 miles, radiation pressure can displace the orbit of the 100-foot Echo balloon at rates up to 3.7 miles per day, the orbit of the 12-foot Beacon satellite at 0.7 mile per day. For certain resonant conditions this effect accumulates, drastically affecting the satellite's lifetime.