Could satellite be geo-stationary away from equatorial plane?

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Summary:
Is there at least a theoretical possibility of maintaining a satellite directly over a specific point on the Earth's surface.
I hope this is okay to ask here. I'm working on a sci-fi short story, and for the purposes of the story I want to have a small ship that maintains its position over a specific location on the Earth's surface.

Originally, I thought this would be easy. After all, that's what geostationary satellites do. The problem is, they have to operate within the equatorial plane. For my story, the location of interest is about 32° N of the equator.

So, I guess first part of the question is: Would this be doable using current technology? Would the energy requirements be too great to be practicable?

Secondly: Is there some known, or at least theorised, physical phenomenon that could be leveraged by a futuristic technology to achieve the desired result? Given some of the other elements that exist in my "imagined world", energy requirements could be less of a concern.

I'm not sure if this is the sort of thing I'm allowed to ask, but I at least hope that it's a fun mental exercise for some physics enthusiasts and experts with greater knowledge than my own. Even just a suggestion like "Read up on Xyz theory" would be appreciated!

Thanks!
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Dale
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It would have to continuously burn thrusters. There is no free fall orbit like that.
 
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  • #3
hutchphd
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No they must be equatorial: the orbital plane includes earth center and so off equator satellites oscillate between hemispheres.
This presents a problem for Russian communication satellites because they are not overhead. They have a special solution Molniya :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molniya_orbit
 
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  • #5
sophiecentaur
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Summary:: Is there at least a theoretical possibility of maintaining a satellite directly over a specific point on the Earth's surface.

Would the energy requirements be too great to be practicable?
That's the problem, I'm afraid.
I imagine that there would be a possible orbit that would lie over a particular line of longitude but drift daily, north and south of the Equator. It would be at a similar orbital height as regular geosynchronous satellites but the satellite elevation would need to be followed 'up and down' from equatorial plane over the day.
Interesting idea but would it be of any use?
 
  • #6
Actually, there is a way that is an extension of current technology if your ship is not too far out and you have some handwavium of some kind to power it. Ion thrust systems are possible using the very thin atmosphere in near orbital space. A sufficiently powerful system could allow such a craft to hover over one spot above the Earth until the engine burned up or the ship ran out of power. The ESA has been looking at the idea as a way of putting up low altitude satellites but as orbital systems, not to hover. Another option would be a powered high atmosphere device that similar to the Atmospheric satellite concept. Good luck with your story.
 

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