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<-   The orbit   ->
figures/orbite.gif
Polar orbit, fixed compared to the stars.
Crédit : Paris Observatory / LESIA / UFE

CoRoT is one of the "small missions" of the CNES; this program requires a low orbit.

In order to observe continuously over several months, and in the same direction of the sky, the only way consists of using the polar orbit, for which the plane is fixed compared to the stars.

The orbit altitude must be between 800 and 900 km.

  • On top of this altitude, solar radiations, especially protons, are very abundant and can damage the instrument.

  • Below this altitude, the proximity of the Earth strengthens the harmful effects of the solar light reflected by the Earth.

The visibility time of the ground-based stations increases with the altitude, the final choice is 896 km.