CURIOSITY FEATURE: Word of the Day - Decommissioning

April 25, 2017

Satellite decommissioning is the final phase of a space mission. Its goal is to eliminate the risk of collision with operational vehicles.


To reduce the risk of collision, spacecraft in low Earth orbit (LEO) are moved to a lower orbit that will result in atmospheric re-entry. Spacecraft in geostationary orbit (GEO) are too far from the Earth to be decommissioned in this way, so they are moved to a higher graveyard orbit, where they won’t interfere with operational spacecraft.


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