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I’ve read a bit about “safe mode” and “passivation”. While one seems to be triggered autonomously, the other is used to decommission the satellite. How does one put the mission in a temporary safe mode? Is there a term for it?

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Partial answer, perhaps from information on these pages someone can address better

Can operators put their satellites to sleep temporarily?

as far as

How does one put the mission in a temporary safe mode? Is there a term for it?

That's a horse of a different color. Safe mode is more like "don't do anything crazy that you'll regret in the morning" where as sleep assumes the spacecraft is functioning normally (no health issues) and so can be trusted to enter a minimally reactive and minimally communicative state.

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I don't know of a common term, but yes, you can generally command a spacecraft into a mode where it is mostly shut down. A common scenario is to save power during a solar eclipse.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. While I believe this answer is correct too, I'm making the other one - which is more comprehensive as a the correct answer. $\endgroup$
    – AGS
    Feb 19 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ @AGS it's also OK to not accept any answer for a few days or even a week, to allow time for even more authoritative answers. There's probably a few folks who have actual first-hand experience in these things who may only log in once or twice a week. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 20 at 0:44

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