What is an Elliptical Orbit?

What is an Elliptical Orbit and what are their advantages?

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Editorial Team - everything RF

Dec 2, 2018

When an object moves around another object in an oval shaped path, it is known to be revolving in an elliptical orbit. All planets move in elliptical orbits around the sun. The Moon also moves around earth in an elliptical orbit.

While moving in an elliptical orbit, the velocity of the satellite varies based on its location in its orbital path. It moves fastest when it is closest to the Earth due to the Earth's strong gravitational pull and moves slowest when it is furthest from the Earth.

Elliptical orbits are best suited for communications satellites, as it allows the satellite to be visible to a ground station for a long portion of its orbit, and is out of contact for a shorter period of time.

The size of an ellipse is measured by the major and minor axis. The major axis measures the longest distance across the ellipse while the minor axis measures the shortest.

The point at which the satellite is closest to the earth in an elliptical orbit is called the perigee.

The point at which the satellite is furthest from the earth in an elliptical orbit is called the apogee.