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Old Oct 4th 2012, 07:28 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 66
RAAN for a sun synchronous orbit?

Hey, was wondering if anyone here could help me untangle my confusion. I have this lab exercise which among other things requires an orbital analysis for a satellite. Specifically it's a sun synchronous orbit (97 degrees inclination, 393km height). What I'm a bit uncertain of is how to decide the right ascension of the ascending node from the info we've been given - namely that the descending node time is 14:00. Now, here's how I figure it:

14:00 is two hours ahead of the Greenwich; counting 15 degrees per timezone that means the satellite is 30 degrees ahead of zero when it passes the equator heading southwards. Seeing as we want the RAAN we simply add 180 degrees and get our RAAN as 210 degrees.

What's making me uncertain is first and foremost that we've actually never been handed any tasks where the descending node time was given. I'm also getting kind of head scratchy over the fact that the whole point of a syn-synchronous orbit is that there's a constant nodal precession corresponding to the Earth's rotation around the sun. Can you really speak of a defined RAAN under those conditions? So yea, if anyone could offer some insight on this I'd be very grateful!
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