Encyclopedia Astronautica
1972.01.11 - SL-1 should be flown at an altitude of 435 km

MSC proposed that SL-1 should be flown at an altitude of 435 km and that the orbit should be controlled by removing any insertion dispersions and drag effects with burns of the SL 2 CSM reaction control system after that spacecraft had rendezvoused and docked with SL-1.

A controlled, repeating orbit would satisfy requirements common to many Earth resources experiment proposals. In addition, multiple passes over fixed targets would increase the probability of successfully obtaining data which otherwise might be lost because of cloud cover or equipment malfunctions. It was estimated, after a study lasting several months, that implementation of a controlled orbit would enhance the probability of success of such experiments by between 25 and 50 percent. The study had also shown that the proposal was feasible with regard to hardware, operations, and the crew.

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