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NASA's NanoSail-D Satellite Continues to Slowly De-Orbit Earth's Upper Atmosphere

"NASA's nanosatellite NanoSail-D is slowly descending after successfully orbiting the Earth's upper atmosphere for 95 days since deploying its 100-square-foot sail on Jan. 20. The small satellite demonstration experiment continues its descent towards Earth, lending key sail data to the design of de-orbit mechanisms for future satellites."

Keith's note: I love the title of this MSFC press release: just how does a satellite "de-orbit Earth's upper atmosphere"? There certainly is a lot of it to "de-orbit". And where does the upper atmosphere go when once NanoSail-D has de-orbited it - the lower atmosphere?. Also, this sentence is a little odd: "NASA's nanosatellite NanoSail-D is slowly descending after successfully orbiting the Earth's upper atmosphere for 95 days since deploying its 100-square-foot sail on Jan. 20." Yea sure - but don't all satellites "orbit the Earth's upper atmosphere"? Actually, they orbit within the Earth's rarefied upper atmosphere - which is why NanoSail-D is deorbiting (drag). So ... maybe the word "within" would have been useful. Oh yes, what does "the large tent size sail" mean in terms of size - i.e. what is "large"? Is this the size of a 4 person tent? A circus tent?

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on April 26, 2011 4:48 PM.

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