Science
A satellite has a mass of 94 kg and is located at 1.96 106 m above the surface

Question Description

A satellite has a mass of 94 kg and is located at 1.96 106 m above the surface of Earth.

(a) What is the potential energy associated with the satellite at this location? (b) What is the magnitude of the gravitational force on the satellite?

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Final Answer

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(a) What is the potential energy associated with the satellite at this location?

               U = m g' (R + h) – m g R = m g R²/(R+h) – m g R 

               U = m g R (R/(R+h) – 1) = - m g R h/(R+h) 

               U = - 94 * 9.8 * 6371000 * 1.97 10^6/(6371000 + 1.97 10^6) 

               U = - 1386.1 x 10^6 J


 (b) What is the magnitude of the gravitational force on the satellite?

g = G M/R² 

R = Earth's radius 

At h = 1.97 10^6 m of altitude: 

g' = G M/(R+h)² 

By dividing the equations: 

g'/g = R²/(R+h)² 

g' = g R²/(R+h)² 

F = m g' = m g R²/(R+h)² = 94 * 9.8 * 6371000²/(6371000 + 1.97 10^6)² 

F = 537.44 N 


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JacksonOke (231)
UC Berkeley

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