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Satellite motion HTML5


Once launched, the only forces governing the motion of a satellite are the force of gravity (red vector) and centrifugal force (not shown). The satellite’s speed is shown by a blue vector.  You can change the speed in real time or start an automatically synchronized sequence.

Satellites will orbit in paths which are ellipses. Circular motion, as in a geostationary orbit, is achieved under very precise conditions.

Click on 'Plus' or 'Minus' to change the speed of the satellite.

Learning goals

  • To simulate the behaviour of an artificial satellite orbiting the Earth.
  • To understand what a geostationary orbit is and how it is achieved.

Learn more

A satellite orbits around a celestial body when its weight is exactly compensated by the centrifugal force it is subjected due to its rotation. Objects and astronauts inside the satellite…

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