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Chapter: 11th Physics : Gravitation

Geo-stationary and polar satellite

The satellites orbiting the Earth have different time periods corresponding to different orbital radii.

Geo-stationary and polar satellite

 

The satellites orbiting the Earth have different time periods corresponding to different orbital radii. Can we calculate the orbital radius of a satellite if its time period is 24 hours?

Kepler’s third law is used to find the radius of the orbit.


Substituting for the time period (24 hrs = 86400 seconds), mass, and radius of the Earth, h turns out to be 36,000 km. Such satellites are called “geo-stationary satellites”, since they appear to be stationary when seen from Earth.

India uses the INSAT group of satellites that are basically geo-stationary satellites for the purpose of telecommunication. Another type of satellite which is placed at a distance of 500 to 800 km from the surface of the Earth orbits the Earth from north to south direction. 

This type of satellite that orbits Earth from North Pole to South Pole is called a polar satellite. The time period of a polar satellite is nearly 100 minutes and the satellite completes many revolutions in a day. A Polar satellite covers a small strip of area from pole to pole during one revolution. In the next revolution it covers a different strip of area since the Earth would have moved by a small angle. In this way polar satellites cover the entire surface area of the Earth.


 


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11th Physics : Gravitation : Geo-stationary and polar satellite |


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