A reminder that if you have been putting off working through the ARISSat-1
repeater, receiving SSTV pictures, or submitting telemetry, the next few
weeks will be your last opportunity to be a part of this satellite's
history. Since deployment in August, ARISSat-1 has descended about 60 km,
and is currently losing more than 1.5 km per day. The rapid rate is
partially the result of the recent solar activity on the atmosphere,
significantly increasing the drag. The predictions by several individuals
and groups are all converging toward a reentry in January or February, 2012.
Heating will become significant before then. Remember, good telemetry in
this period provides invaluable information to the engineering team, to be
used in future projects.
The orbit period changes about 30 seconds per day, and that will increase
steadily. Be certain to update your tracking program Keps from Space-Track
or CelesTrak before each pass. They issue revised versions 3-5 times daily.
As the descent continues, this will become even more critical to copying the
telemetry beacon, especially unattended.