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What is meant by the orbit of a satellite? On what basis and how are the orbits of artificial satellites classified?
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Orbit of a satellite Is its path around the earth.

Orbits of artificial satellites can be classified on various basis.

  1. On the basis of the angle of the orbital plane : Orbital plane of a satellite can be the equatorial plane of the earth or it can be at an angle to it
  2. On the basis of the nature of the orbit : Orbital plane can be circular or elliptical in shape.
  3. On the basis of the height of the satellite : Orbit of a satellite can be HEO, MEO or LEO

High Earth Orbits (HEO)(Height from the earth’s surface > 35780 km): If the height of the satellite’s orbit above the earth’s surface is greater than or equal to 35780 km, the orbit is called High earth Orbit. Such a satellite will take about 23 hours 54 minutes to complete one revolution around the earth.

Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) (Height above the earth’s surface 2000 km to 35780 km): If the height of the satellite orbit above the earth’s surface is in between 2000 km and 35780 km, the orbits are called medium earth orbits. These satellites take about 12 hours to complete one revolution around the earth.

Low Earth Orbits (LEO) (Height above the earth’s surface: 180 km to 2000 km): If the height of the satellite orbit above the earth’s surface is in between 180 km and 2000 km, the orbits are called Low earth Orbits. Normally, these satellites take 90 minutes to complete one revolution around the earth. Weather satellites, space telescopes and International Space Station are Low Earth Orbit satellites.

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