Consider a satellite of mass *m* in a circular orbit of radius *r* around the Earth. Since the orbital speed depends on the orbital radius, the KE of the satellite is also a function of *r*.

Needless to say, the GPE of the satellite is also a function of *r*.

Finally the total energy of the satellite is also a function of *r*.

We can now sketch the graphs of the variation of a satellite’s *KE*, *GPE* and *TE* with orbital radius *r*.

Some important points to note:

- At any
*r*,
*TE* and *GPE* increase with *r*, whereas *KE* decreases with *r*.
- To move a satellite from a lower orbit to a higher orbit, we must increase the
*TE* of the satellite. This requires the burning of rocket fuel so that the propulsion force does (positive) work on the satellite.

–

**Explanation Video**

Derivation of the formulas for Energies of Satellites in Orbit

**Interesting**

SpaceX Launch

**Concept Test**

1269

### Like this:

Like Loading...

*Related*