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So long SVN-15, retired GPS satellite

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Seems it's time to form a guard of honour and wave goodbye to our good friend SVN-15 "Firebird", one of the GPS satellites which has just been retired.




SVN-15, we salute you! I even forgive you for that time you had me searching in nettles. B*****d.


:rolleyes: So THAT'S how I ended up in those bramble bushes! :rolleyes:

Thanks for solving the mystery, lordelph!

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".... will send Firebird into disposable orbit"

Does that mean deep space geolitter or earthbound ash?


No. They made a typo. They should have said a "disposal" orbit. It's sometimes known as a graveyard orbit. It's out of the way of in_service satellites and is quite different to sending it down to burn up in the atmosphere.


They do retain the ability to send it crashing into the atmosphere at a later date if they want to, but that's not the preferred option due to the risk of clonking a Low Earth Orbit satellite on the way down.


Sending it in to deep space is not really an option as that would take a phenomenal amount of power and the tired old bird is nearly out of fuel.


There are still plenty of the old Transit satellites (the US Navy's early satellite navigation system which was developed for the Polaris fleet) still whizzing around, despite their having been decommisioned when NavStar "GPS" came online. Most of them are still able to 'talk' to the ground and most are still able to be talked to. In fact, some of the corrections applied to GPS data are derived from measurements made by monitoring the Transit satellites' remaining signals.

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