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Gravitational Acceleration

Gravity- Gravity is the natural attraction between physical bodies.


The gravitational force between 2 objects is:
Directly proportional to the mass of each object.
This means the mass dictates the strength of the gravitational pull. i.e larger
mass larger gravity
Inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
The distance between 2 objects squared is in inverse proportion to the
gravitational force
G- Newtons Gravitational constant the number 6.67 x 10 -11
newton meters squared per
kilogram squared (N x m 2 x kg -2 )
m1m
G 2
2

d
F grav=

Variations in Gravity around the earth:

Variations in the thickness and structure due to mioneral deposits and tectonic plates
Earth is not a perfect sphere and is flatter at the poles and is wider at the equator
Spin of the earth creates a centrifuge effect that reduces the effective value of g, effect
is greatest at equator but none at g
Keplers Law of periods (Insert here)
LEO- Higher than 250km to avoid atmospheric drag and lower than 1000km to avoid Van
allen radiational belts which have can dangerous effects on astronauts and electronic
equipment.
Geostationary- The period of the orbit precisely matches that of the earth ensuring it is
constantly over the same location. Altitude of 35800 from the earths surface. Used for
communication purposes
Orbital Decay
All satellites in a LEO experience atmospheric friction. This slows the satellite down
decreasing orbit radius this is known as orbital decay.
The less dense the atmosphere in which the satellite exists the less atmospheric friction
and as a result less orbital decay
COMPARE AND CONTRAST LEO and Geostationary

LEO Geostationary
Period is approximately 90 mind Period 24hrs
Altitude varies between 250-1000km 35800km Altitude
Relatively fast orbit speed Relatively slow Orbit speed
Photographing and telescopes Used for communication

T 3 Gm
=
r2 4 2