XMM-Newton was launched on the 10th December 1999 by an Ariane 5 launcher into a highly elliptical orbit, with an apogee of about 115,000 km and a perigee of ca. 6000 km (Fig. 118). XMM-Newton is operated with three ground stations, located at Yatharagga, Kourou and Santiago de Chile (occasionally also ESAC, Madrid, Spain).
Due to several perturbations, the orbit of XMM-Newton changes with time. In addition, an orbit correction manoeuvre was performed in February 2003 to ensure full ground station coverage during the entire science period. The orbital parameters for next May are listed in Table 28. Such an orbit provides the best visibility in the southern celestial sky (§ 4.2.3).
|May 2013||May 2015||May 2017||unit|
|Right ascension of ascending node||69.8||43.2||5.9|
|Argument of perigee||95.0||93.7||95.6|