From the August 2014 issue

What does NASA do with geostationary satellites during meteor showers?

David Kennedy, Auburndale, Florida
By | Published: August 25, 2014 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
During the Leonid meteor storms of the late 1990s and early 2000s, scientists rotated the Hubble Space Telescope so that its most sensitive side was pointed away from Leo, from which the meteors appear to radiate.

The majority of geostationary satellites, which take 24 hours to orbit Earth and thus are always above the same latitude and longitude, are commercial and/or military, but NASA operates nine geostationary Tracking and Data Relay Satellites. These are extremely important because they relay data and communications from the International Space Station (ISS), the Hubble Space Telescope, science satellites, launch vehicles, and even science payloads aboard balloons. Meteor showers, however, affect everything in Earth orbit, so even a satellite in low Earth orbit is at risk.

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