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Re: Question about satellite orbit classification



Hi Gilberto,

My personal definitions:

LEO satellites are those satellites orbiting between the earth's atmosphere
and the lower bound of the van Allen belt.  Practical values are between
250km and 2000km.  Too low, and atmospheric drag will cause the orbit to
decay (and the satellite to burn up);  too high, and the satellite's
electronics will be prematurely damaged by the high doses of ionising
radiation.

GEOs are, of course, geosynchronous (at about 36000km), and normally have
the orbital plane in the earth's equatorial plane, to make the orbit
geostationary.

MEOs are those satellites orbiting between the upper reaches of the van
Allen radiation belt and GEO altitude.  These include the Navstar (GPS)
satellites, etc.

The van Allen belt explains why there are virtually no satellites between
altitudes of 2000km and 20000km.  (Highly Eccentric orbits (HEO) such as
AO-10, P3D etc, have to traverse this region twice every orbit... ouch).

Hope this helps,

73 Chris vk6kch


At 13:47 13/01/2000 -0500, you wrote:
>Hello all.
>
>Someone asked me this question I could not answer, nor had I ever thought 
>of that:
>         -when is a sat called a Low Earth Orbit sat?
>
>More generally: what are the orbit classifications in function of 
>perigee/apogee (apart from the obvious geostationary)?
>
>Thanks and 73 de CT2DAC/IZ2DHN
>Gilberto
>
>
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