

By
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocentric_orbit A geocentric orbit is an orbit of any object orbiting the Earth, such as the Moon or artificial satellites. Currently there are approximately 2,465 artificial satellites orbiting the Earth and 6,216 pieces of space debris as tracked by the Goddard Space Flight Center. Over 16,291 previously launched objects have decayed into the Earth's atmosphere.
List of terms and concepts
 Analemma
 a term in astronomy used to describe the plot of the positions of the Sun on the celestial sphere throughout one year. Closely resembles a figureeight.
 Altitude
 as used here, the height of an object above the average surface of the Earth's oceans.
 Apogee
 is the farthest point that a satellite or celestial body can go from earth at which the orbital velocity will be at its minimum.
 Eccentricity
 a measure of how much an orbit deviates from a perfect circle. Eccentricity is strictly defined for all circular, elliptic, parabolic and hyperbolic orbits.
 Equatorial plane
 as used here, an imaginary plane extending from the equator on the Earth to the celestial sphere.
 Orbital characteristics
 the six parameters of the Keplerian elements needed to specify that orbit uniquely.
 Escape velocity
 as used here, the minimum velocity an object without propulsion needs to have to move away indefinitely from the earth. An object with such a velocity will enter an escape orbit.
 Impulse
 the product of a force and the time during which it acts. Measured in (kg m/s or N·s).
 Specific Impulse
 is defined as the ratio of thrust produced and the mass flow rate into the rocket engine. Its unit of measurement is (s).
 Inclination
 the angle between a reference plane and another plane or axis. In the sense discussed here the reference plane is the Earth's equatorial plane.
 Orbital period
 as defined here, time it takes a satellite to make one full orbit about the Earth.
 Perigee
 is the nearest approach point of a satellite or celestial body from Earth at which the orbital velocity will be at its maximum.
 Sidereal day
 the time it takes for a celestial object to rotate 360°. For the Earth this is: 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.091 seconds.
 Solar time
 as used here, the local time as measured by a sundial.
 Velocity
 an object's speed in a particular direction. Since velocity is defined as a vector, both speed and direction are required to define it.
Geocentric orbit types
The following is a list of different geocentric orbit classifications.
Altitude classifications

Various Earth orbits to scale. 
 Low Earth Orbit (LEO)  Geocentric orbits ranging in altitude from 160–2,000 km (100–1,240 miles); one revolution takes 90 minutes, the speed is 8 kilometers per second.
 Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)  Geocentric orbits ranging in altitude from 2,000 km to just below geosynchronous orbit at 35,786 km (22,240 miles). Also known as an intermediate circular orbit.
 Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO)  Geocentric orbit with an altitude of 35,786 km (22,236 statute miles) above mean sea level. The period of the orbit coincides with the rotation period of the earth: 24 hours; the speed is 3 km/s.
 High Earth Orbit (HEO)  Geocentric orbit higher than 35,786 km (22,236 statute miles)
Inclination classifications
 Inclined Orbit  An orbit whose inclination in reference to the equatorial plane is not 0.


 Polar Orbit  A satellite that passes above or nearly above both poles of the planet on each revolution. Therefore it has an inclination of (or very close to) 90 degrees.


 Polar Sunsynchronous Orbit  A nearly polar orbit that passes the equator at the same local time on every pass. Useful for image taking satellites because shadows will be the same on every pass.
Eccentricity classifications
 Circular Orbit  An orbit that has an eccentricity of 0 and whose path traces a circle.

 Hohmann transfer orbit  An orbital maneuver that moves a spacecraft from one circular orbit to another using two engine impulses. This maneuver was named after Walter Hohmann.
 Elliptic Orbit  An orbit with an eccentricity greater than 0 and less than 1 whose orbit traces the path of an ellipse.

 Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit  A geocentricelliptic orbit where the perigee is at the altitude of a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and the apogee at the altitude of a geosynchronous orbit.

 Geostationary Transfer Orbit  A geocentricelliptic orbit where the perigee is at the altitude of a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and the apogee at the altitude of a geostationary orbit.

 Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO)  Geocentric orbit with apogee above 35,786 km and low perigee (about 1,000 km) that result in long dwell times near apogee.


 Molniya Orbit  A highly elliptical orbit with inclination of 63.4° and orbital period of ½ of a sidereal day (roughly 12 hours). Such a satellite spends most of its time over a designated area of the planet.


 Tundra Orbit  A highly elliptical orbit with inclination of 63.4° and orbital period of one sidereal day (roughly 24 hours). Such a satellite spends most of its time over a designated area of the planet.
 Hyperbolic orbit  An orbit with the eccentricity greater than 1. Such an orbit also has a velocity in excess of the escape velocity and as such, will escape the gravataional pull of the planet and continue to travel infinitely.
 Parabolic Orbit  An orbit with the eccentricity equal to 1. Such an orbit also has a velocity equal to the escape velocity and therefore will escape the gravatational pull of the planet and travel until its velocity relative to the planet is 0. If the speed of such an orbit is increased it will become a hyperbolic orbit.

 Escape Orbit (EO)  A highspeed parabolic orbit where the object has escape velocity and is moving away from the planet.

 Capture Orbit  A highspeed parabolic orbit where the object has escape velocity and is moving toward the planet.
Directional classifications
 Prograde orbit  an orbit in which the projection of the object onto the equatorial plane revolves about the Earth in the same direction as the rotation of the Earth.
 Retrograde orbit  an orbit in which the projection of the object onto the equatorial plane revolves about the Earth in the direction opposite that of the rotation of the Earth.
Geosynchronous classifications
 SemiSynchronous Orbit (SSO)  An orbit with an altitude of approximately 20,200 km (12544.2 miles) and an orbital period of approximately 12 hours
 Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO)  Orbits with an altitude of approximately 35,786 km (22,240 miles). Such a satellite would trace an analemma (figure 8) in the sky.


 Geostationary orbit (GSO): A geosynchronous orbit with an inclination of zero. To an observer on the ground this satellite would appear as a fixed point in the sky.


 Clarke Orbit  Another name for a geostationary orbit. Named after the writer Arthur C. Clarke.


 Supersynchronous orbit  A disposal / storage orbit above GSO/GEO. Satellites will drift west.


 Subsynchronous orbit  A drift orbit close to but below GSO/GEO. Satellites will drift east.


 Graveyard Orbit  An orbit a few hundred kilometers above geosynchronous that satellites are moved into at the end of their operation.



 Disposal Orbit  A synonym for graveyard orbit.



 Junk Orbit  A synonym for graveyard orbit.
Special classifications
 Sunsynchronous Orbit  An orbit which combines altitude and inclination in such a way that the satellite passes over any given point of the planet's surface at the same local solar time. Such an orbit can place a satellite in constant sunlight and is useful for imaging, spy, and weather satellites.
 Moon Orbit  The orbital characteristics of Earth's Moon. Average altitude of 384,403 kilometres (238,857 mi), ellipticalinclined orbit.
Nongeocentric classifications
 Horseshoe Orbit  An orbit that appears to a ground observer to be orbiting a planet but is actually in coorbit with it. See asteroids 3753 (Cruithne) and 2002 AA_{29}.
 Exoorbit  A maneuver where a spacecraft approaches the height of orbit but lacks the velocity to sustain it.

 SubOrbital Spaceflight  A synonym for Exoorbit.
Earth orbits
orbit 
centertocenter
distance 
altitude above
the Earth's surface 
speed 
period/time in space 
specific orbital energy 
minimum suborbital spaceflight (vertical) 
6,500 km 
100 km 
0.0 km/s 
just reaching space 
1.0 MJ/kg 
ICBM 
up to 7,600 km 
up to 1,200 km 
6 to 7 km/s 
time in space: 25 min 
27 MJ/kg 
Low Earth orbit 
6,600 to 8,400 km 
200 to 2,000 km 
circular orbit: 6.9 to 7.8 km/s
elliptic orbit: 6.5 to 8.2 km/s 
89 to 128 min 
32.1 to 38.6 MJ/kg 
Molniya orbit 
6,900 to 46,300 km 
500 to 39,900 km 
1.5 to 10.0 km/s 
11 h 58 min 
54.8 MJ/kg 
GEO 
42,000 km 
35,786 km 
3.1 km/s 
23 h 56 min 
57.5 MJ/kg 
Orbit of the Moon 
363,000 to 406,000 km 
357,000 to 399,000 km 
0.97 to 1.08 km/s 
27.3 days 
61.8 MJ/kg 
See also
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Published in July 2009.
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