Lageos (Laser Geodynamics Satellite)
Lageos 1 was developed by NASA and placed into a high inclination orbit to permit viewing by ground stations around the world. Lageos 2 was a joint program between NASA and the Italian space agency, which built the satellite using Lageos 1 specifications and materials provided by NASA. Lageos 2's orbit was chosen to provide more coverage of seismically active areas, such as the Mediterranean and California, and to help scientists understand irregularities noted in the motion of Lageos 1. Lageos 1 contains a message plaque addressed to human and other beings of the far future with maps of Earth from three different eras – 268 million years in the past, the present day, and 8 million years in the future (the satellite's estimated decay date).
Both satellites are spherical bodies with an aluminum shell wrapped around a brass core. The design was a compromise between numerous factors including the need to be as heavy as possible to minimize the effects of non-gravitational forces, to be light enough to be placed in a high orbit, to accommodate as many retroreflectors as possible, and to minimize surface area to minimize the effects of solar pressure. The materials were chosen to reduce the effects of Earth's magnetic field on the satellite's orbit.
Related category SATELLITES AND SPACE PROBES
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