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Gravitational acceleration of a satellite

  1. Apr 19, 2010 #1
    I don`t understand the solution for the following question:
    A satellite is in orbit around the earth. Consider the following quantities:
    1. distance from the center of the earth
    2. mass of the earth
    3. mass of the satellite

    The gravitational acceleration g depends on which of the above?

    The solution is 1 and 2.

    Newton's law of universal gravitation states that every mass in the universe attracts every other mass in the universe.
    the equation is F= Gm1m2/r² where m1 is the earth and m2 should be the satellite.
    thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2010 #2


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    Welcome to PF!

    Hi christyan! Welcome to PF! :smile:
    How about Newton's other law (about acceleration)? :wink:
  4. Apr 19, 2010 #3


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    From an inertial (non-accelerating) frame of reference, then the rate of acceleration of the satellite towards the earth is

    gearth = F / m2 = G m1 / r^2.

    gearth = 6.67428 x 10-11 x 5.9736 x 10^24 / r^2 = (3.9869479008 x 10^14 / r^2) m / s^2

    At the mean radius of the earth (it's surface), 6371000 m, g ~= 9.8226 m / s^2.
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