Aside

…and this was from a LEO satellite…

So this was just put out there:  http://www.nbcnews.com/science/hubble-telescope-finds-source-cosmic-stream-near-milky-way-6C10911426

And yup, you read that right:  the Hubble is a low earth orbiting (LEO) satellite, just like the others that Digitalglobe and RapidEye use–except the payload, the camera and telescope, points outwards.  Don’t get me wrong–if the Hubble hadn’t been that low to the Earth, the space shuttle astronauts would’ve never been able to fix that pesky telescope optical problem by accomplishing servicing mission 1, nor this problem either (to name a few).

This picture is courtesy of Hubblesite.org.Bidding Hubble Farewell (2009)

But this is a nice segue to my next post, which is:  there are a few cons for low earth orbiting satellites.  Considering the Hubble’s mission, which is primarily looking at the wide open galaxy around the Earth, why put it in such a low orbit?  The orbit is a near-circular about 347 miles above the Earth’s surface.  Wouldn’t it be better for the telescope to be further away from:  Earth’s reflection of light and Earth’s atmosphere (aerobraking) possibly getting in the way?  Especially when you consider all the cons, or the complicated infrastructure required, for LEOs.

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2 responses to “…and this was from a LEO satellite…

  1. Pingback: Why space matters: Imaging satellite operations, part 6 | The Mad Spaceball

  2. Hi, Mel! You sound just like my son-in-law, John!

    Like

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