Fwd = Mir descends below 300 kilometers
- Forwarded by: fwestra@...
Original Date: 1 Feb 2001 21:05:07 -0000
========================== Forwarded message begins ======================
Mir descends below 300 kilometers
Published: Feb. 1
The Mir space station slowly looses its orbital altitude as ground
controllers preparing for the station's de-orbiting this March.
Although Russian space officials express full confidence in their
ability to control the station during its final days in orbit, they
also say that the wild fluctuations in the density of the Earth
atmosphere make it more difficult to predict exact date of Mir's
Currently, the regular peak of solar activity, which takes place
approximately every 11 years, causes the Earth atmosphere to "bulge,"
increasing atmospheric drag. As a result, low-orbiting spacecraft,
including Mir, spiral down toward denser atmosphere faster and less
evenly than usual.
According to high-ranking officials at RKK Energia, the company which
operates Mir, the station's altitude currently drops as little as 200
meters one day and as much as 650 meters on another, which complicates
the work of the team monitoring the station's orbit.
On January 30, Mir descended to the altitude of 294 kilometers and it
was expected to go as low as 291-292 kilometers above the Earth
surface on Friday, February 1.
Copyright � 2001 by Anatoly Zak
========================== Forwarded message ends ========================