Re: OTV2

Message posted by Griffon_314 on December 13, 2011 at 7:28:52 PST:

Yes, it is a coincidence.

Most low-earth orbits have inclinations that result in overflying middle latitudes with high frequency. The X-37B is no exception.

Put another way, there's simply no way to "avoid" flying over any location close to the equator frequently, if you launch the payload in an easterly direction (which is much more efficient, in that you get the full benefit of the earth's rotation to help the payload reach orbital velocity).

Polar orbits (payloads launched due north or south) similarly can't help overflying Santa's Workshop with high frequency.

So OTV-2 has not passed over Afghanistan any more frequently than it has any other spot on earth with the same latitude (e.g. San Francisco).

There are specific cases where you can deduce a spy satellite's intended focus of operations on the globe - these are called Molniya orbits, that keep apogee and perigee fixed with respect to the earth. But OTV-2 is not in such an orbit.

Attached link: Basic Orbital Mechanics

In Reply to: OTV2 posted by Ken Dunton on December 12, 2011 at 15:06:51 PST:


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