5-ton spacecraft would land -- it is currently losing altitude at the rate of 6km per week due to atmospheric drag
Variable atmospheric drag
makes predictions uncertain.
At the same time, a sensitive accelerometer, built at Onera in France, will account for non-gravitational effects, such as atmospheric drag
and solar radiation.
The drags sails, each with an area of approximately one square meter, are intended to decrease the ballistic coefficient of the satellite and use atmospheric drag
to accelerate orbital decay.
For these satellites, the atmospheric drag
is acting significantly; although the last example satellite flies higher, there is a slight effect on its motion due to the residual hydrogen atmosphere as well.
By contrast, rocket ships expend a lot of energy, as they "must counter the gravitational force during the flight by carrying mass in the form of propellant and must overcome atmospheric drag
," inventor Brian Quine explained in the patent.
As the vehicle prepares to drop back the Earth, a tube around it should expand like a Hawaiian puffer fish, creating atmospheric drag
to dramatically slow it down from Mach 4, or four times the speed of sound.
Solar radiation pressure and Earth-Moon perturbations were not taken into account as their effect is small compared to the atmospheric drag
at 300 km.
While docked, ATV-4 performed six reboosts to keep the Space Station in orbit, counteracting the effects of atmospheric drag
Elsewhere, bodies and body parts jutted into the picture plane, seemingly at random, as in Atmospheric Drag
on Satellite, 1965, in which a headless figure edged in paper doll--like tabs, a second truncated profile, and a pair of disembodied arms are adrift in a field that collides various pictorial novelties of the moment: moody mottled sprays, stenciled dors, neon spatters, and blue stripes in a hard-edge band.
During that time, atmospheric drag
slowed the probe and caused it to drop lower and lower until it re-entered the atmosphere.
Debris at orbits low enough to experience significant atmospheric drag
can be eventually swept out of orbit.