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Atmosphere Information

There are two parameters that govern the characteristics of the atmosphere: the solar flux and the geomagnetic index. These two parameters will determine as accurately as possible the atmospheric density at orbital altitudes based on solar activity. The density is then incorporated into the state vector propagation process in its atmospheric drag computations.

NASA SkyWatch uses its internal table of appropriate values that are future predicted based on the 11-year solar cycle. Alternatively, the user can input the values based on another source. During shuttle flights, the Flight Dynamics Officers will provide state vectors for the shuttle and also the current values of solar flux and geomagnetic index. The Atmospheric Defaults button resets the internal atmospheric values.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 09/23/2011
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