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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Geostationary orbit

Filed under animation, trajectory diagrams, Earth

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Geostationary orbit To achieve a geostationary orbit, a geosynchronous orbit is chosen with an eccentricity of zero, and an inclination of either zero, right on the equator, or else low enough that the spacecraft can use propulsive means to constrain the spacecraft's apparent position so it hangs seemingly motionless above a point on Earth. (Any such maneuvering on orbit, or making other adjustments to maintain its orbit, is a process called station keeping.) The orbit can then be called geostationary.

NASA / JPL ("The Basics of Space Flight")

This orbit is ideal for certain kinds of communication satellites and meteorological satellites. The idea of a geosynchronous orbit for communications spacecraft was first popularized by science fiction author Sir Arthur C. Clarke in 1945, so it is sometimes called the Clarke orbit.

Read more about orbits at The Basics of Space Flight.

 

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