Niko's Project Corner

Language Python and tag Applied mathematics at other sites

Satellite crash course

(10th May 2021)

Since hear­ing the news of a fal­ing Chi­nese rocket booster Long March 5B and be­ing re­minded that Earth's sur­face is about 70% ocean, I got in­ter­ested on how the or­bital pa­ram­eters af­fect the odds of crash­ing to ocean vs. ground. I was nearly fin­ished with the pro­ject when I re­al­ized that Earth is ro­tat­ing un­der the satel­lite, thus in­val­idat­ing all the re­sults! This doesn't take or­bits' ec­cen­tric­ity into ac­count ei­ther, but I've heard that the ath­mo­spheric drag has a den­dency of re­duc­ing it to zero as the or­bit falls. Any­way, I found the var­ious "straight" paths around the globe in­ter­est­ing and de­cided to pub­lish these re­sults any­way. In con­clu­sion there are paths which spend only 9 % on top of land (in­clud­ing lakes) and 91% on top of ocean or up-to 57% on top of land and 43% on top of ocean.

Languages: Python
Tags: Applied mathematics