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Satellite reentry

  1. Dec 15, 2008 #1
    The path of a satellite reentering the atmosphere from a very high orbit has two components, one gravitational and the other from the atmosphere. Could there be a discussion of the two separate components using Newtonian gravity with gravity as:

    g = GM/r^2

    that change with elevation as a function of time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2008 #2
    There may also be a velocity component from the satellite's rotational velocity...anyway the atmosphere acts as a variable resistance (drag) in a direction opposite the velocity.

    the complication is that air resistance and gravity vary with altitude and air resistance varies with speed...and likely with temperature as well...

    Try wikipedia,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_spaceflight

    and see "RE-ENTRY for a brief discussion of some practical considerations....it's not a simple theoretical situation underlying your question. For one thing, a satellite in free fall will burn up...

    There are practical equations for computing air resistance...I researched some for wind force on a boat while anchored...it varied as the square of wind speed...people had computed/measured constants for different boat shapes...
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
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