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# How do satellites stay in orbit?

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The ability of a satellite to stay in orbit is dependent on its velocity and the gravitational pull from the planet that the satellite is orbiting. The closer the satellite is to a planet, the faster it has to travel to maintain its orbit.

The orbit principles of Johann Kepler are the basis for the understanding of satellite orbit. Kepler was the first to describe the orbital shape of planets in a mathematical sense. He determined that Earth had an eliptical orbit around the Sun rather than the previous theory which stated that all planets orbited in a perfect circle. Kepler theorized that for an object to orbit the Earth, it must carry enough speed to maintain its path around the planet. Kepler's work helped scientists determine that the closer an object orbits the Earth, the stronger the gravitational pull on the object. Velocity must be increased or else the object would crash to Earth under the weight of the force of attraction.

Artificial satellites are launched into different levels of orbit. The most common satellite orbit is called geosynchronous orbit. Geosynchronous orbit means that it takes the satellite 24 hours to orbit the Earth. This type of orbit is used for communications and television satellites because the satellite remains in the same place over the Earth.

## Similar Questions

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A satellite stays in orbit because its velocity is sufficient to counteract the Earth's gravitational pull. All objects near Earth are influenced by its gravitational pull and tend to fall towards the planet. However, if a satellite is moving fast enough parallel to the Earth's surface, instead of falling down and striking the planet, it will effectively fall past it instead, maintaining a circular orbit.

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A satellite requires a speed of 17,450 miles per hour in order to maintain a low Earth orbit. Satellites in higher orbits travel more slowly; for example, a geostationary satellite only orbits at 6,858 miles per hour.

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The International Space Station is easy to spot in the sky due to its proximity to Earth, generally appearing just above the horizon, though its exact location in the sky depends on where one is attempting to view from, and where the station is currently in its orbit around the earth. The large solar panel arrays are particularly suited for catching the sun's light and reflecting it to the ground. When it passes overhead, the International Space Station appears to be a bright, solid and fast-moving light in the sky, but it is often visible for only a few moments.