posted by .

If an artificial earth satellite is in an orbit around the earth’s
equator with a period of exactly 1 day, how does its motion
look to an observer on the rotating earth if it orbits in the same
direction as the earth turns? (Such an orbit is said to be geosynchronous;
most communications satellites are placed in
geosynchronous orbits.)

  • Physics -

    There is a clear distinction between a geosynchronous orbit and a geostationary orbit. The early recognition of a geostationary orbit was made by the Russian Konstantin Tsiolkovsky early this century. Others referred to the unique orbit in writings about space travel, space stations, and communications. It was probably Arthur C. Clarke who was given the major credit for the use of this orbit for the purpose of worldwide communications.
    The geostationary orbit is one where a spacecraft or satellite appears to hover over a fixed point on the Earth's surface. There is only one geostationary orbit in contrast to there being many geosynchronous orbits. What is the difference you ask? A geosycnchronous orbit is one with a period equal to the earth's rotational period, which, contrary to popular belief, is 23hr-56min-4.09sec., not 24 hours. Thus, the required altltude providing this period is ~22,238.64 miles, or ~35,787.875 kilometers. An orbit with this period and altitude can exist at any inclination to the equator but clearly, a satellite in any such orbit with an inclination to the equator, cannot remain over a fixed point on the Earth's surface. On the other hand, a satellite in an orbit in the plane of the earth's equator and with the required altitude and period, does remain fixed over a point on the equator. This equatorial geosynchronous orbit is what is referred to as a geostationary orbit. The orbital velocity of satellites in this orbit is ~10,088.25 feet per second or ~6,877 MPH. The point on the orbit where the circular velocity of the launching rocket reaches 10,088.25 fps, and shuts down, is the point where the separated satellite will remain. The point on the Earth's surface immediately below the satellite is moving with a velocity of 1525.85 ft./sec.

Respond to this Question

First Name
School Subject
Your Answer

Similar Questions

  1. force of gravity

    A satellite orbits around the earth. The mass of the satellite is 1170 kg, and its altitude is 220 km. The mass of the earth is 5.98×1024 kg. The radius of the earth is 6.38×106 m. 1)What is the gravitational force on the satellite?
  2. Physics

    A satellite of mass 220 kg is launched from a site on Earth's equator into an orbit at 200 km above the surface of Earth. (a) Assuming a circular orbit, what is the orbital period of this satellite?
  3. Physics

    A satellite with an orbital period of exactly 24.0 h is always positioned over the same spot on Earth. This is known as a geosynchronous orbit. Television, communication, and weather satellites use geosynchronous orbits. At what distance …
  4. Physics

    A 360-kg satellite is in orbit around the Earth 10000 km above the Earth's surface. (a) What is the weight of the satellite when in orbit?
  5. physics

    A satellite of mass 225 kg is launched from a site on Earth's equator into an orbit at 200 km above the surface of Earth. (The mass of the Earth is 5.98 1024 kg, and the radius of the Earth is 6.38 103 km.) (a) Assuming a circular …
  6. physics

    A geosynchronous Earth satellite is one that has an orbital period equal to the rotational period of the Earth. Such orbits are useful for communication and weather observation because the satellite remains above the same point on …
  7. physics

    A satellite of mass 205 kg is launched from a site on Earth's equator into an orbit at 200 km above the surface of Earth. (a) Assuming a circular orbit, what is the orbital period of this satellite?
  8. physics

    A satellite is in a circular orbit around the Earth at an altitude of 3.30 106 m. (a) Find the period of the orbit. (Hint: Modify Kepler's third law so it is suitable for objects orbiting the Earth rather than the Sun. The radius of …
  9. Physics

    At a height of 500km above earth, a satellite will orbit the earth once every 95 minutes. Find the mass of the earth based on this idea. B) How far above earth's surface would a satellite need to orbit so that it revolves at exactly …
  10. Physics 20

    Astronomers launch a satellite to explore a nearby asteroid that has come dangerously close to the earth.The satellite begins orbit around the earth,with an orbital radius 6.85 X 10^3 Km, before being moved to an orbit about the asteroid …

More Similar Questions