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The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation to Provide Reports During Leonid Storm

El Segundo, Calif., 11/8/99 -- When the 1999 Leonid meteoroid storm occurs Nov. 17-18, The Aerospace Corporation will be operating a near real-time Web site, where the latest observations on the storm's intensity will be posted.

The company plans to provide updated information every 15 minutes from observers around the world. This information can be accessed at www.leonidstorm.com. Included at this site is information on how observers who wish to participate can register.

William Ailor, Ph.D., principal director of the company's Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies, said it is hoped that the information will help satellite owners and operators determine when it is prudent to switch from defensive to normal operations.

During peak activity some operators plan to take measures to safeguard their satellites. Options include turning off sensitive components, turning solar panels away from the stream of meteoroids, orienting satellites to minimize exposure and other measures.

Scientists predict the Leonids event will reach storm level this year with peak activity of 1,000 meteors or more per hour predicted. Meteors are flashes of light created when meteoroids burn up as they slice through the Earth's atmosphere.

Last year some 300 meteors per hour were observed at peak levels. A number of satellite owners and operators who attended the Leonids Storm and Satellite Threat Conference sponsored by The Aerospace Corporation and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in May 1999 reported that sensors aboard their satellites detected impact with the tiny meteoroids, but no satellite was reported seriously damaged.

The Leonids occur with intensity every 33 years or so when the Earth passes through the most dense part of the debris stream created by the comet Tempel-Tuttle.

For further information on the Leonid meteoroid storm, please visit: "Understanding the Leonid Meteor Storms",

http://www.aero.org/leonid/index.html

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