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Homework Help: Gravitational Potential

  1. Mar 23, 2006 #1
    Calculate the gain of gravitational potential energy of a satelite of mass 200kg between launching and when it is in orbit at a height of 1.2 * 10^6m
    above the earth's surface. (R=6.4*10^6)

    I approach this question using the equation V=-GM/r . Since the mass of Earth is not given here, I assume it is 6*10^24.

    So, I calculate the gravitational potential at the Earth's surface and at 1.2*10^6 m and find the difference. I get the answer of 1.9*10^9.

    But the actual answer is 1.7*10^6.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2006 #2
    The gravitational potential is defined as [tex] V = \frac{GM}{r} [/tex], while the gravitational potential energy is defined as [tex] E = \frac{GMm}{r} [/tex]. Although, you must have made a mistake in putting the numbers in aswell.
  4. Mar 23, 2006 #3


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    Homework Helper

    I get the same answer as you with the formula
    maybe the given answer is incorrect.
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