Satellite is a generic descriptor for any body that orbits a much larger body. The term commonly refers to objects orbiting planets, like artificial satellites and moons, but it can sometimes also refer to planets, small stars, satellite galaxies, and other objects.

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Is there a small enough planet or asteroid you can orbit by jumping?

I just had this idea of orbiting a planet just by jumping and then flying upon it on its orbit kind of like superman. So, Would it be theoretically possible or is there a chance of that small body to ...
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Is it possible to have a geostationary satellite over the poles?

My understanding of orbital mechanics is very limited, but as I understand geostationary satellite, they stay in place by having an orbital speed corresponding to the spot they're orbiting over. So ...
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Why are Saturn's rings so thin?

Take a look at this picture (from APOD http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110308.html): I presume that rocks within rings smash each other. Below the picture there is a note which says that Saturn's rings ...
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How large can planets or moons appear?

In many artistic impressions or movies there are pictures or scenes where the sky is filled with an enormous moon (as seen from a planet) or vice versa. I wonder if there is an upper limit to the ...
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Can a moon have another large body as a satellite, and are there any examples of such?

In my mind, I'm comparing it to the Sun-Earth-Moon system. After all, the Earth is primarily a satellite of the Sun, but the Moon is still gravitationally bound to the Earth. Could something like this ...
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What distinguishes a moon from orbiting space debris? Or in other words, when is a satellite “too small” to be a moon?

The Wikipedia article on Natural Satellites doesn't really give an adequate distinction as to what distinguishes a moon from other orbiting bodies. What I am looking for is a classification that ...
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Cancelling special & general relativistic effects

We know that for a GPS we need to make a correction for both general and special relativity: general relativity predicts that clocks go slower in a higher gravitational field (the clock aboard a GPS ...
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Are there Trojan family or Hilda family satellites locked in Earth's orbit?

Jupiter has many Trojan asteroids located at Lagrangian points L4 and L5 and Hilda asteroids dispersed between points L3, L4, and L5. Does the Earth have similar satellites? If so, how many?
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Is There Reddening on Objects Other than the Moon Upon Entry into Earth's Umbra?

With the recent lunar eclipse, for some reason this question came to me: The reason the Moon turns red is that the only appreciable sunlight hitting it when it's in Earth's umbra is refracted through ...
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203 views

When can a natural satellite be in polar orbit around it's primary?

A circular/inclined to the equator/non-polar orbit is typical for natural satellites; apparently a consequence of the energy/velocity requirements. This is applicable to natural satellites around ...
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1answer
146 views

Why doesn't gravity ruin satellites?

Recently I watched a documentary about Io, a moon around Jupiter. Io has volcanic activity even though it is small and can't retain heat well because gravity from Jupiter and a nearby moon cause it to ...
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how far away can something be from the earth and still be in orbit?

Just as the title asks, How far away can, say, a satellite be and still be in "orbit" ? How about for a given velocity? Fun Facts 200 miles (320 km) up is about the minimum to avoid atmospheric ...
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Gravitational potential outside Lagrangian points or Lagrange points

The diagram in Why are L4 and L5 lagrangian points stable? shows that the gravitational potential decreases outside the ring of Lagrange points — this image shows it even more clearly: If I ...
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Is such an orbit possible that allows a satellite on Earth and another on Mars to always be in direct line-of-sight?

If not always, how much "most of the time" could it get? Or would a multi-satellites setup be more suited?
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How much thrust would be needed to turn a hobbyist weather balloon into a deep space probe?

I was reading the article Weather Balloon Space Probes that says you can put your own balloon probe at 65,000 ft temporarily. Is it even remotely possible to raise the probe high enough using ...
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1answer
162 views

Would two astronauts one in a satellite, one on top of a tower have the same experience?

Imagine two astronauts. The first is in a satellite in geostationary orbit around the earth. The second is on top of a 35,786 km tall tower that has been built from the equator to space. This means ...
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Is tripleaxis planet possible?

Imagine. Our solar system. Our sun. Then earth and moon orbiting it. And you have "powers" to create any planet you want, any size, any density, any weight and any velocity. Would it be possible for ...
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1answer
169 views

Is the fuel burn for a satellite launch affected by the position of the moon relative to the launch site?

The gross mass of a satellite rocket is tiny compared to that of Earth, and Luna. Between them, however, the two bodies set up tides in bodies of water which itself is again considerable mass. At ...
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126 views

Link between Earth and Mars

I am trying to the calculate the link budget for link between a ground station on Earth (with a particular latitude and longitude) and a rover at a particular location on the surface of Mars, either ...
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1answer
105 views

Gravitational resonances for satellites

I read on the website of European Space Agency that the altitude of Galileo satellites, which is 29600 Km from the center of the Earth, is chosen to avoid gravitational resonances so that station ...
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421 views

how does international space station change its orientation?

In what way does the rotating gyroscope help in changing the orientation of the international space station in space ? Is there any other way to change the the orientation of ISS ?
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1answer
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How to determine satellite position in J2000 from latitude, longitude and distance from Earth?

Due to my task of writing orbit prediction routines I am trying to understand the reference frames better and how to use them ( particularly for Earth orbits ). I think I get the idea of what ECI ...
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3answers
129 views

Why aren't there more natural satellites orbiting the Earth than just the Moon?

Considering that there's a lot of debris in space and that impacts fling out rocks into space all the time, why do we only have one large natural satellite - the Moon? Shouldn't there be all kinds of ...
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1answer
85 views

image distortion when taking a picture from space

I'm trying to understand if there is a distortion of an image taken from space (i.e. from a satellite), and if there is, then how to model it mathematically (depending on the angle in which we take ...
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How to predict Iridium Flare?

I want to find out how to predict Iridium flares, but I don't know where to start. If I know Solar position, Iridium satelites' TLE and it's shape, I need a magnitude(time) function for some place on ...
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Parallax Cloud Displacement - Angular Distance from Geostationary Satellite

When observing clouds from a geostationary satellite, they appear displaced because of the parallax effect. The satellite looks at the clouds "at an angle" and it projects them on a point of the earth ...
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Constructing an orbital trajectory that quickly returns to its origin

I'm working on a science fiction story that involves two spaceships engaged in combat while in orbit around a planetoid. My original idea called for spaceship A to trick spaceship B into firing a ...
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150 views

How do scientists place satellites into orbit?

How do scientists place satellites into orbit? How do they calculate the gravity acting on the spacecraft in order to generate exact opposite force by means of Kinetic energy to keep the satellite ...
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1answer
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What are the temperatures of objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO)?

What is the temperature of objects in Low Earth Orbit? Consider LEO to be 600km to 800km.
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1answer
112 views

Raising Altitude by using Magnetic Torquer and Reaction Wheels

Suppose a satellite with a magnetic torquer and reaction wheels. I wonder if it is possible to use both in such a way that the overall effect would be to raise the satellite's altitude?
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2answers
110 views

What may be effect of air friction to the velocity of satellite?

What is the effect of air friction to the velocity of satellite? I have heard satellite's speed increases with air friction. But I'm in confusion how is it possible?
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1answer
240 views

How do I convert tangential speed to angular speed in an elliptic orbit?

I am running an animation of a satellite in an elliptic orbit (defined by a parametric equation for $x$ and $y$ as a function of $t$) and want to make sure the spacecraft is traveling at the right ...
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3answers
180 views

How closely may an artificial satellite orbit Earth without decaying appreciably each orbit?

Just what the title states. An artificial satellite will orbit Earth with some defined angular momentum. An aircraft,on the other hand, relies upon it's engines to provide continuous forward velocity ...
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Acceleration vector for an object moving in a elliptic trajectory

I am interested in deriving what the radial and tangential components of the acceleration vector should be for an object following an elliptical trajectory centered on the origin, in which the ...
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Signal strength drop-off from a geosynchronous satellite as a function of angular pointing error

If we have a compact antenna used to communicate with a satellite in geosynchronous orbit somewhere between the $K_u$ and $K_a$ bands of the spectrum (for high broadband applications where we can't ...
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If most satellites in orbit were destroyed from debris, would we ever be able to recover?

Suppose enough satellites were destroyed in orbit to cause so much debris from the explosions that a chain reaction destroying other satellites took over to generating more and more debris (even ...
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1answer
82 views

What is the constant $K_1$ in these orbital equations?

I want to compute the derivatives of argument of periapsis and longitude of the ascending node of the orbit of a GPS satellite from the following formula. $$\frac{d\Omega}{dt} = -K \cos{i} \\ ...
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1answer
112 views

Acceleration due to gravity?

I was looking into orbitals and found something I haven't been able to understand. http://www.math.ubc.ca/~cass/courses/m309-01a/hunter/satelliteOrbits.html There is a part on the page which states ...
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1answer
303 views

What is the typical orbital life of an artificial satellite?

The orbit of satellites around Earth eventually decays, or so I read. This is typically caused either by atmospheric drag, or by tides. I would assume most satellites have a limited service life in ...
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A satellite in orbit fires it's engines for a short interval. Is the new orbit closer or further away?

A satellite is in a circular orbit when its engines turn on to exert a small force in the direction of the velocity for a short time interval. Is the new orbit further or closer to the Earth? The ...
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What is geostationary orbit radius?

I'm asking this apparently "general reference" question for the simple reason: I was unable to find whether the quoted everywhere "35,786 kilometers (22,236 mi) above the Earth's equator" means ...
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1answer
41 views

How does acceleration affect the orbit?

I want to know what roughly happens if we hit an orbiting body a little. And how is it possible that most of the objects have seemingly circular orbits around. How do they stabilize? I ask because it ...
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1answer
51 views

Orbital speed in an elliptic orbit [duplicate]

I want to have a general solution for calculating orbits. Wikipedia says how to put object on circle orbit. We must give it speed $v_1 = \sqrt{g(h_o +R)} $ Where $h_o$ - is the orbit height, and $R$ ...
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2answers
55 views

Ground velocity of satellite

I was wondering whether there is a simple formula in order to calculate the ground velocity (the velocity with which the satellite is moving along the planet's surface) on basis of the orbital ...
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1answer
42 views

Getting first and second time derivative of mean motion of spacecraft - without TLE?

The Celestrak website provides information on reading the TLE ( Two-Line Element Set ) format. In Line 1, Column 34-43 & 45-52 give information about ...
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1answer
86 views

Could an orbiting mass generate power?

If an heavy object (e.g. 10 tons) orbiting around Earth at 370 miles high, is connected with a cable back to Earth, we assumed either Earth is going to pull the mass or vice versa (or it will fall ...
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1answer
69 views

Duration of Satellite orbit in the shadow of the Earth

I want to determine how many minutes a satellite is in a circular orbit around the Earth at about $1000 km$ altitude. I assumed that the Sun-Earth vector lies exactly in the orbital plane of the ...
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3answers
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How does my car acquire satellite signal? [closed]

I just got XM radio again after a brief period without it. A customer service rep said that the satellite needs to beam my signal to me in a six minute time window. How exactly does this happen? How ...
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Compute and plot satellite position on 2D Earth map

I would like to create a simple satellite tracking software, that will compute the position of a satellite at any time, and show its location on a 2D map of Earth. Let's assume it is possible to ...
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Vibrational noise for scientific apparatus on a satellite

Say we're running an experiment on a satellite in some earth orbit. For example, maybe we're imaging something with transmission electron microscope or we're catching atoms in ion traps --- really ...