sun-synchronous orbit

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sun-synchronous orbit

An orbit in which the satellite's orbital plane is at a fixed orientation to the sun, i.e., the orbit precesses about the earth at the same rate that the earth orbits the sun. It has the characteristics of maintaining similar sun angles along its ground trace for all orbits, and typically has an inclination from 96 to 98 degrees, depending on the orbit altitude and orbit shape (eccentricity). See also synchronous orbit.
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In addition, Athena RideShare missions planned for 2015 and 2016 from Kodiak Launch Complex can accommodate 24 P-PODs or a mix of 3U, 6U and 12U CubeSat containerized payloads, vastly expanding launch opportunities for these very small satellites to sun synchronous orbits.