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Geostationary satellite questions

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posted on May, 1 2012 @ 05:00 AM
Hi all

ok not a conspiracy but I have been wondering for a while :-

geostationary satellites

1. how are satellite moved from one position to another, do they move them to the norht or south to let gravity pull them around ?
i.e. 140west to 94west

2. satellites placed into a grave yard orbit, do they eventually get dragged around to 'gravity well' points near earth (one exists over the Indian ocean) ?

Like I say nothing conspiracy related but I have wondered for a while.

posted on May, 1 2012 @ 05:49 AM
Geostationary satellites are in an orbit about 36000km above earth, i don't know the exact distance but its somewhere that height, and the orbit they are in is almost circular, so they never get much lower than this.
Only this orbit has the unique feature that a satellite travels around the earth at the same speed the earth is rotating, thus having a direct uninterrupted view on the same side of the earth all the time.

Satellites being up there have an ammount of fuel onboard and usually need that just for attitude control (pointing) and minor trajectory correction for a little drift they develop over time.

imagine that a satellite,-and i read that from ASTRA-SES-, that a geostationary satellite has a virtual cube up there in space with a sidelenght of about 160km , and that the control station keeps this satellite within this cube, using the onboard thrusters every once in a while.
These corrections are like once or twice in three month, and the satellites often have fuel onboard making them able to maneuver this way at least for its designated lifetime, which can be 10 or more years.
Once the satellites are no more used they are maneuvered into a nearby 'parking-orbit' where they can stay almost forever, and noone really has to care since its still in the range of 36000 km's

There was a case where a still functioning TV-Satellite developped an anomaly making it incapable performing its stationkeeping, but the attitude control (in this case based on reaction wheels) was still working).
So TV-Enthsiasts (i guess it was the Asian zone which the satellite was build for) saw the Satellite drifting off its position.
This satellite worked for a long time, but since people are not that happy in constantly adjusting their satellite dishes compensating the drift, the satellite wasn't that much used by major stations anymore.

posted on May, 1 2012 @ 06:48 AM
This interesting video worth a look for you as it could possibly answers some of your questions:


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