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On the effect of ocean tides and tesseral harmonics on spacecraft flybys of the Earth
Acedo, L.
AA(Instituto Universitario de Matemática Multidisciplinar, Building 8G, 2o Floor, Camino de Vera, Universitat Politècnica de València, E-46022 Valencia, Spain )
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 463, Issue 2, p.2119-2124 (MNRAS Homepage)
Publication Date:
Astronomy Keywords:
celestial mechanics, ephemerides, reference systems, planets and satellites: oceans
Abstract Copyright:
2016 The Author Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
Bibliographic Code:


The so-called flyby anomaly has encouraged several authors to analyse in detail the minor perturbative contributions to the trajectory of spacecraft performing a flyby manoeuvre. This anomaly consist of an unexplained increase or decrease of the asymptotic velocity of the spacecraft after a flyby of the Earth in the range of a few mm per second. Some order of magnitude estimations have been performed in recent years to dismiss many possible conventional effects as the source of such an anomaly but no explanation has been found yet. In this paper we perform a study of the perturbation induced by ocean tides in a flybying spacecraft by considering the time dependence of the location of the high tide as the Moon follows its orbit. We show that this effect implies a change of the spacecraft velocity of a few micrometres per second. We also consider the coupling of tesseral harmonics inhomogeneities and the rotation of the Earth and its impact on the spacecraft outgoing velocity. Significant corrections to the observed asymptotic velocities are found in this case but neither their sign nor their magnitude coincide with the anomalies. So, we can also rule this out as a conventional explanation.
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