Satellite Motion

If the Earth is pulling the Moon, why doesn’t the Moon fall down onto the Earth?

Try out this applet! See if you can fire a cannon round the globe!

The Moon is no longer the only object orbiting the Earth. The human race has “parked” thousands of satellites in the sky. What does “parking” a satellite mean?

Parking a satellite is an expensive business, simply because of the large amount of GPE a satellite must gain to climb up the sky. As such, most satellites are parked just at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. To orbit (and not drop back to Earth) at this altitude, the satellites must orbit at about 8000 m s-1 (wow), meaning they round the globe once every 90 minutes (wow).

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