Friday, September 03, 2010

The perfect altitude for a Clark orbit

Looking at those figures, I realized that I needed to round off the actual planned final orbital altitude to the nearest hundred. That was as close as most people, and in particular the news media, would ever remember. So I selected 22,300 miles as the figure for the planned altitude, and used that.
But the perfect altitude for a Clark orbit, it turns out, is 22,238 statute miles above mean sea level.
That meant I should have rounded off geosynchronous altitude as 22,200 miles, the closest hundred. Using 22,300 miles was a mistake.

By the time I recognized my error, everyone was using the 22,300 mile figure, even engineers and others who were experts in orbital mechanics.
It's wrong. And it's all my fault.

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