1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Geostationary satellite mechanics

  1. Feb 18, 2006 #1
    1)If an object is dropped from a satellite moving close to the earth will it fall to the earth or will it move along with the satellite? The answer given in my book is, it will fall to the earth with an acceleration due to gravity. But how is it so? At the instant it is dropped, it has an orbital velocity. So it should move along with the satellite, isn’t it Sir?
    2)It is said that the geostationary satellite is falling freely under gravity while orbiting the earth, then how does it have a constant orbital velocity?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 18, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    This is a guess, but perhaps the key in in the words "close to earth". A satellite in a Low Earth Orbit usually is orbiting in the Exosphere, where there is some tiny amount of air resistance. If the satellite does not use its rockets to provide periodic boosts, it will gradually lose speed and spiral earthwards.

    It does not have a constant velocity - only a constant speed.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Geostationary satellite mechanics
  1. Satellite Orbit (Replies: 0)

  2. Satellite Paradox (Replies: 8)

  3. Earth and Satellites (Replies: 1)

  4. Satellite Comm (Replies: 3)

  5. Period of satellite (Replies: 3)