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Telecommunication satellites (e.g., those belonging to Dish or

Telecommunication satellites (e.g., those belonging to Dish or DirecTV) travel in geostationary orbits. These satellites move in sync with the Earth surface and always stay above the same point on the surface of the Earth. All satellites in geostationary orbit must be location in the equatorial plane. Please, explain why it has to stay in the equatorial plane. Draw a simple diagram showing forces acting on such satellite.

Satellites that are not in the geostationary orbit do not have to stay in the equatorial plane (e.g., most of the military satellites), but the plane of the orbit has to go through the Earth's center of mass.

Hint: For any stable orbit, the centripetal force and gravitational force must be parallel and equal. Analyze direction of these two forces when a satellite is not in the equatorial plane. 


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