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Lab 17: Satellite Motion
To investigate the conditions for launching a satellite and maintaining stable
Try looking into the night sky in an open ﬁeld away from city lights. If you look
closely enough, you might eventually see what looks like a star moving quickly
across the sky. But what you see is not a star. It is one of many satellites that
have been launched into orbit around Earth. These satellites move around
Earth in much the same way as the moon does. Satellites are carefully put into
orbit and their orbit is maintained with just the force of gravity, but other
orbiting spacecraft require booster rockets to maintain or change their orbits.
The gravitational laws that govern orbiting satellites are simple, but require
precise conditions to exactly reach the anticipated elliptical orbits.
Predicting, controlling variables, drawing conclusions, observing cause and
1. Start Virtual Physics and select Satellite Motion from the list of assignments.
The lab will open in the Mechanics laboratory.
2. The laboratory will be set up with a ball on the screen. The ball’s mass is
100 kg. Attached to the ball is a plunger that you will use to lau...