NASA/SOFIA Star Shades in night time orbits for permanent eclipse 2.0
This post is a continuance of nuclear powered spy sats in night-time obits for permanent eclipse 1.5. here we discuss using the NASA/SOFIA airborne observatory in conjunction with two star shade spacecraft in Molniya orbits. Another spacecraft would be in super synchronous orbit.
All 4 spacecraft would need to ion powered so that future occultations could allow for SOFIA airborne observatory the star shade to maneuver into position.The two Molniya spacecraft would have a perigee in the sunlight so to allow for both spacecraft and aircraft to be in darkness most of Apogee.We Would Need a second spacecraft with a perigee over the daytime northern hemisphere.
The object here is to occult astronomic objects with earth orbiting star-shades or oculters so that SOFIA could maneuver under tha shadow for a few seconds to collect data
I have a plan for spacecraft in darkness for large part of their orbits ; A small fission reactor with the SFR radiator inside the spent stage fuel or oxidizer tank, the tank ullage gas is Argon or Xenon as described here,
Other possibilities are MEO eclipse but these might be too fast for SOFIA to track an object? Or perhaps SOFIA could better track from a Tundra orbit?
These star shade spacecraft lend themselves to multiple use ? And/or could be a partner project with Canada
NSF communications with Antarctic bases could be another dual use?
EDIT 25 December 2014
Perhaps a star shade at L-2 with the Earth rotating below with SOFIA in flight might work?
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