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Homework Help: Mass in a satellite changes orbit

  1. Sep 29, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A i kg mass is in a satellite must move to a higher orbit. energy must be added.
    Can this energy be added at one time, by shooting the mass?

    2. Relevant equations
    Potential energy: ##E_p=\frac{GMm}{r}##
    Gravitational force: ##F=\frac{GMm}{r^2}##

    3. The attempt at a solution
    The velocity at the higher circular orbit is lower but the potential energy much higher so energy must be added. but if i shoot the mass it reaches the higher orbit with the correct, lower energy but the direction isn't correct, i must change the velocity direction to tangent to earth, right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2014 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You are basically correct. A one time impulse will change the satellite's orbit into an ellipse that will continue to revisit the same height as the starting point. This doesn't really count as a "higher orbit".

    You might find investigating Hohmann Transfer Orbits will give you insight into the problem and its solution.
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