Orbital Mechanics I
Newton's laws only. Nothing about energy or momentum. Centripetal force and gravitational force.
|Fc = Fg
||v = √
Kepler's third law. Derive Kepler's third law of planetary motion (the harmonic law) from first principles.
|v = √
|| = constant
The "constant" depends on the object at the focus. Although formulated from the data for objects orbiting the sun, Newton showed that Kepler's third law can be applied to any family of objects orbiting a common body.
- LEO: low earth orbit, typical altitude < 2000 km
- space shuttle
- space station
- Hubble Space Telescope
- remote sensing: EROS, Landsat
- communications: email, text messaging, paging
- MEO: medium earth orbit, typical altitude 10,000 to 20,000 km
- Semisynchronous 12 hour period
- GPS: Global Positioning System
- GEO: geosynchronous earth orbit, seven earth radii, one-ninth of the distance to the moon, altitude = 36,000 km
- Arthur C. Clarke: In 1945, while still in his late 20s, he was the first to propose the concept of using a network of satellites in the geosynchronous orbit for television and telecommunications
- meteorology: GOES - Geosynchronous (Geostationary) Operational Environmental Satellites
- signal relays for terrestrial broadcast and cable systems
- direct broadcast satellite TV and radio
- TDRS: Tracking and Data Relay Satellite
- GEOs tend to drift toward a large gravity anomaly over the Indian Ocean — an area of above average gravity thought to be above a mantle subduction zone
A "snapshot" of the earth and about 500 of its artificial satellites generated one summer evening in 2002. Nearly all of them are GEOs or LEOs. Satellites on the ring are in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO). Those clustered near the earth are in low earth orbits (LEO). Scattered in between are satellites in medium earth orbits (MEO). The moon, earth's only natural satellite, is approximately nine times farther from the earth than the ring of geosynchronous satellites. Source: NASA.
circular motion about the center of mass
still just a balance between centripetal and gravitational force, but slightly more complicated
the three body problem, lagrange libration points are the simplest solutions
still just a balance between centripetal and gravitational forces, but now much more complicated
The five Lagrange points of the earth-sun system. Satellites in orbit at these locations remain fixed with respect to the earth and sun. This figure is not drawn to scale.
L1 and L2 are approximately four times farther from the earth than the moon. L3 is a very near the "anti-earth" point.
L4 and L5 are at the vertex of an equilateral triangle formed with the earth and sun. L4 leads the earth and L5 follows.
Objects can settle in an orbit around a Lagrange point. Orbits around the three collinear points, L1, L2, and L3, are unstable. They last but days before the object will break away. L1 and L2 last about 23 days. Objects orbiting around L4 and L5 are stable because the Coriolis force keeps them spinning around the Lagrange point.
- Artificial satellites between the sun and earth
- International Cometary Explorer (ICE), 1978. Originally named International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE 3). Moved to solar orbit in 1983.
- Wind, 1994.
- Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), 1995.
- Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), 1997.
- Genesis, 2001. Moved to solar orbit in 2005.
- Kuafu (夸父計劃), 2012?
- LISA Pathfinder, 2013? LISA stands for Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. Originally named Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology 2 (SMART 2). The LISA Pathfinder mission is one component of the larger LISA project.
- Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). Launch uncertain. Currently in storage for dumb-assed political reasons. Also known as Triana (in honor of Rodrigo de Triana, the first member of Columbus' crew to spot America) and derisively called "GoreSat" and an "overpriced screen saver" by dumb-asses.
- Global Sunshade. A proposed geoengineering project to place large opaque satellites at L1 to reduce solar radiation received by earth and counteract global warming.
- Artificial satellites in earth's shadow
- Fictional "anti-earths" behind the sun
- Pythagorean counter earth — part of their numerological belief in a 10 body universe. 10 since 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 (the sum of the harmonic series) equals 10
- Journey to the Far Side of the Sun. (a.k.a. Doppelgangers) 1969
- "Bizzaro World" — home of Bizzaro Superman
- L4 & L5
- Jupiter trojans
- 3168 in the Greek camp ahead of Jupiter (L4).
- 1645 in the Trojan camp behind Jupiter (L5).
- Mars trojans
- Saturnian satellite groups
- Neptune trojans
- Earth trojans
- 2010 TK7 Earth's first confirmed trojan asteroid.
- 3753 Cruithne oscillates back and forth between L4 and L5 (passing through L3 in the middle). It repeates this dance once every 770 years. The orbit is circular when viewed from the sun (which stands still at the center of the solar system), but horseshoe shaped when viewed from the earth (which is not sitting still). Thus every 385 years it comes to its closest point to Earth, some 15 million kilometers. Last time was in 1900, next — if you can wait — will be in 2285."
- The twin STEREO spacecraft will spend some time around L4 and L5 but won't enter into true Lagrangian orbits. STEREO A (for ahead) is approaching L4 and STEREO B (for behind) is approaching L5. STEREO is an acronym for Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory. We want to encourage good relations between the sun and the earth.
- Earth-moon (as opposed to sun-earth)
- The L4 and L5 points in the earth-moon system have been proposed as prime locations for large "cities in space". The most famous proponent of such proposals was the American physicist Gerard K. O'Neill (1927–1992). He wrote a popular book on the subject filled with fantastic illustrations called The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space.
qualitative description of noncircular orbits
centripetal-gravitational forces don't balance
- Molyna orbit
Developed for coverage of areas above 60° (?) latitude. Typically uses three satellites in an unusually elliptical orbit. Each satellite rotates into the farthest point from earth, where it spends about 8 (?) hours. The satellite obeys Kepler's second law of planetary motion, so the speed at this point is very low. If the period of the satellite is set just right, the satellite will appear relatively motionless during this period.
- (Hohmann) transfer orbit, opportunities
The point in an orbit where the engines are fired becomes a point in a new orbit. The burn point is an intersection between the old and new orbits, a point of common tangency in most cases. The burn must occur where the current and desired orbits intersect.