Testing for preferredframe effects in gravity with artificial Earth satellites
Abstract
As gravity is a longrange force, one might a priori expect the Universe's global matter distribution to select a preferred rest frame for local gravitational physics. At the postNewtonian approximation, two parameters suffice to describe the phenomenology of preferredframe effects. It is pointed out that the observation of particular orbits of artificial Earth satellites has the potential of improving the alpha sub 1 limits by a couple of orders of magnitude, thanks to the appearance of small divisors which enhance the corresponding preferredframe effects. There is a discrete set of inclinations which lead to arbitrarily small divisors, while, among zeroinclination (equatorial) orbits, geostationary ones are near optimal. The main alpha sub 1  induced effects are: (1) a complex secular evolution of the eccentricity vector of the orbit, describable as the vectorial sum of several independent rotations; and (2) a yearly oscillation in the longitude of the satellite.
 Publication:

NASA STI/Recon Technical Report N
 Pub Date:
 October 1993
 Bibcode:
 1993STIN...9431771D
 Keywords:

 Artificial Satellites;
 Eccentricity;
 Elliptical Orbits;
 Equatorial Orbits;
 Gravitation;
 Gravitation Theory;
 Gravitational Effects;
 Orbit Calculation;
 Orbital Mechanics;
 Satellite Orbits;
 Universe;
 Oscillations;
 Perturbation;
 Phenomenology;
 Rotation;
 Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance