Physical Sci – OM

1.) Go to –> “Visual Physics” –> “Why Satellites Don’t Fall”


2.) Observe what happens to the satellite when you input the following data:

First Situation

Height = 500 miles

Speed = 0 mph

Animation Detail –> high

Click “GO”


Second Situation

Height = 500 miles

Speed = 100 mph


Third Situation

Height = 500 miles

Speed = 25000 mph (don not input any commas)


3.) Discuss your observations of motion for a satellite at a height of 500 miles above the earth, moving at a speed of:

– 0 mph

– 100 mph

– 25000 mph


4.) For a satellite at a height of 500 miles, at what speed must the satellite be traveling to achieve a circular orbit? (A score of 100% will tell you that you have achieved a circular orbit).


5.) Knowing that the Earth has a circumference of about 24,000 miles, how “fast” is someone standing on the equator traveling?


6.) Describe the orbit of a “geostationary” satellite. How is a geostationary satellite useful?


7.) Knowing that a geostationary satellite orbits above the Earth’s equator at a height of about 22,240 miles, calculate a geostationary satellite’s speed as it orbits around the Earth (be sure to show calculations). 


8.) Describe how a satellite is able to maintain an orbit around the Earth without constant propulsion. Include what parameters need to be balanced for orbital motion to occur.


9.) For a satellite already in perfect orbit around the Earth, what happens if:

– the satellite’s speed is reduced?

– the satellite’s mass is reduced?


10.) Clearly describe (or draw) a “force diagram” of a satellite that is orbiting the Earth. Label all forces acting on the satellite with a single arrow (->), and indicate the direction and magnitude of the “net force” with a double arrow (=>). DO NOT draw any non-forces in the diagram.

(The magnitude of the force is represented by the length of its arrow. Note that “velocity” and inertia is not a force.) 


Assignment Solutions