Launching a Satellite: Finding Velocity and Max Distance

• AwesomeTrains
In summary, a satellite is launched 2R from the center of the Earth, vertically above the northpole, at an angle of 60° to the vertical. The satellite crashes on the southpole. Find the launch velocity and the maximum distance to the center of the Earth from its trajectory.
AwesomeTrains

Homework Statement

A satellite is launched 2R from the center of the earth, vertically above the northpole, at an angle of 60° to the vertical.

The satellite crashes on the southpole. Find the launch velocity and the maximum distance to the center of the Earth from its trajectory.

Homework Equations

Energy conservation.
Angular momentum is also conserved.

The Attempt at a Solution

I tried using those two conservation laws to first get the launch velocity.
Energy conservation:
$\frac{mv^{2}}{2}+\frac{GMm}{2R}=\frac{mu^{2}}{2}+\frac{GMm}{-R}$
Angular momentum conservation:
$v \cdot 2R \cdot sin(Pi/3) = u \cdot -R$

Solving first equation for u and plugging into the second gives me $9684.37 m/s$

Can I find the maximum distance by using the same equations?

hold on, hold on. In your equation for energy conservation, on the left hand side, you've written the potential energy as positive. But gravitational potential energy can't be positive. Maybe this is a typing mistake? Also, in your equation for angular momentum conservation, you have written the final angular momentum as ##-Ru## but this would imply that the satellite has zero radial velocity when it collides with the Earth (which definitely can't be true). You got the left hand side correct, since you've used the correct angle there.

BruceW said:
hold on, hold on. In your equation for energy conservation, on the left hand side, you've written the potential energy as positive. But gravitational potential energy can't be positive. Maybe this is a typing mistake? Also, in your equation for angular momentum conservation, you have written the final angular momentum as ##-Ru## but this would imply that the satellite has zero radial velocity when it collides with the Earth (which definitely can't be true). You got the left hand side correct, since you've used the correct angle there.

I rewrote the energy conservation equation:
$\frac{-MGm}{2R}+\frac{v^{2}}{2}=\frac{-MGm}{-R}+\frac{u^{2}}{2}$
What is the angle when it hits the southpole? Isn't it 90°?

uh, hehe. now the right hand side isn't correct. it is the magnitude of the displacement that enters into the equation for potential. At the south pole, the displacement will be ##-R\hat{z}## (where the z hat is unit vector). The magnitude of this is not ##-R##.

when it hits the south pole, why would the angle be 90° ? Maybe you are thinking of problems where the satellite 'just touches' the earth. But this question does not mention that.

Ah okay, now I got the energy right, I think.
$\frac{mv^{2}}{2}-\frac{GMm}{2R} = \frac{mu^{2}}{2} - \frac{GMm}{R}$

But I have no idea on how to find the angle between the position vector and the velocity vector.
Is it possible to find the trajectory when you don't know the mass of the satellite? And should I use polar coordinates?

AwesomeTrains said:
Ah okay, now I got the energy right, I think.
$\frac{mv^{2}}{2}-\frac{GMm}{2R} = \frac{mu^{2}}{2} - \frac{GMm}{R}$

But I have no idea on how to find the angle between the position vector and the velocity vector.
Is it possible to find the trajectory when you don't know the mass of the satellite? And should I use polar coordinates?

Look carefully at your equation. Do you notice any common factors?

Yea, m. But can I get the trajectory from the energy equation?

hmm. good point, I don't think you can do this problem with just the equations for conservation of energy and conservation of angular momentum alone. try using more equations!

But at least you know the mass of the satellite is immaterial.

For the trajectory:

It may be a bit tedious, but you should be able start with the polar form of the ellipse equation for an orbit. The plot sits on X--Y axes with the focus at the origin. Place the "Earth" centered on the origin, too. The Earth's polar axis will be rotated through some angle θ to avoid forcing a rotation on the ellipse equation. (Suggestion: Define the Earth radius to be 1 unit so you don't have to carry R through all the manipulations).

You can find equivalent Cartesian coordinates for points on the ellipse readily enough, and so you can determine the slope at a strategic location...

Find the semi latus rectum and the eccentricity and everything else will fall into place.

What is the purpose of launching a satellite?

The purpose of launching a satellite is to place it into orbit around the Earth or another celestial body. Satellites are used for a variety of purposes, such as communication, navigation, weather forecasting, scientific research, and military surveillance.

How do you determine the velocity of a satellite?

The velocity of a satellite can be determined using the equation v = √(GM/r), where v is the velocity, G is the gravitational constant, M is the mass of the central body, and r is the distance between the satellite and the central body. This equation is derived from Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation.

What is the maximum distance a satellite can travel from Earth?

The maximum distance a satellite can travel from Earth depends on the type of orbit it is in. For geostationary satellites, which orbit at the same speed as the Earth's rotation, the maximum distance is approximately 35,786 km. For satellites in low Earth orbit, the maximum distance can be up to 2,000 km from the Earth's surface.

What factors affect the velocity and maximum distance of a satellite?

The velocity and maximum distance of a satellite are affected by the mass of the central body, the distance between the satellite and the central body, and the type of orbit the satellite is in. Other factors that can affect the velocity and maximum distance include atmospheric drag, gravitational forces from other celestial bodies, and changes in the Earth's rotation.

How is velocity and maximum distance used to calculate the orbit of a satellite?

Velocity and maximum distance are used to calculate the orbit of a satellite through the use of Kepler's laws of planetary motion. These laws describe the relationship between the period, velocity, and distance of an object in orbit around a central body. By knowing the velocity and maximum distance, the orbit of a satellite can be determined and predicted.

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