Information about the orbit of the C/NOFS satellite

The C/NOFS satellite was launched on April 16, 2008 into an equatorial orbit of 13 degrees inclination with an apogee of 870 km and a perigee of 402 km. Over time the orbit will become circularized at slightly below 400 km after which it will slowly drop in altitude until it reenters the atmosphere. Because of the uncertainty of the atmosphere and the solar cycle we do not know the satellite's lifetime at this point, but the current estimate is that it will reenter the atmosphere sometime in 2010 or 2011.

Because of C/NOFS' equatorial orbit there is great interest in its overflights of the Jicamarca radar installation in Peru. C/NOFS crosses the Jicamarca's field of view three or four times a day. At the beginning of each month we will use the current orbital elements to generate plots and tables showing orbital parameters and the conjuctions between C/NOFS and Jicamarca for two months out. We feel that predictions of two months out are accurate enough to use for the planning of campaigns and scientific observations.

Back to the CINDI data distribution page