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Title: Orbit Characteristics

Action: Present an image of the Earth in the lower left-hand corner along with a ring labeled low, the ring displays the orbit of the LEO, or lower Earth orbit with an orbit of 60 NM - 450 NM, along with the following information in a text box:

Lower Earth Orbit (LEO)
  • < 450 NM High
  • Limited Earth view but higher fidelity
  • 14+ orbits/day
  • Short time over area
  • Often get 1 or more revisits per day
  • Voice: Satellites are placed into orbit at different distances from the Earth, depending upon the satellite’s mission. For example, to obtain detailed weather information, mapping or imaging data, satellites are placed in low Earth orbit. These low Earth orbit satellites have a limited view of the Earth, but produce high resolution data. Low Earth orbits are of short duration and will often allow a satellite to visit a particular area more than once a day.

    Action: Present another ring that is larger than the previous orbit labeled medium, for middle Earth orbit these satellites range from 450 - 11000 NM:

    Highly Ellptical Orbit (HEO)
  • Transits from low eath to higher altitude
  • 2 or more orbits daily
  • Extended access to a particular hemisphere (16-20 hrs/day)
  • Voice: Satellites that provide communication or navigation data are often placed in semi-synchronous or medium Earth orbit. One of the specialized orbits in this category is the highly elliptical orbit used by the Molniya satellite. This orbit gives the satellite extended dwell or viewing time over a target hemisphere that can approach 20 hours per day.

    Action: Present a third ring labeled high, for the geosynchronous orbit or GEO, and this satellite ranges from 11000 - 22,500 NM

    Geostationary Orbit (GEO)
  • High Earth orbit (22,500 NM)
  • Positioned over equator
  • Moves with Earth
  • Continuous view of the same area
  • Voice: Missions such as wide-area reconnaissance, communications, and global weather mapping are performed by satellites in earth orbits beyond 11,000 nautical miles. The geosynchronous orbit at 22,500 nautical miles along the equatorial plane is a particularly useful high earth orbit. A satellite in a special geosynchronous orbit called a geostationary orbit follows the rotation of the earth and remains constantly above the same point of the earth.

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