2. Satellite Orbits and Trajectories

  1. Anil K. Maini and
  2. Varsha Agrawal

Published Online: 4 SEP 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470711736.ch2

Satellite Technology, Second Edition, Second Edition

Satellite Technology, Second Edition, Second Edition

How to Cite

Maini, A. K. and Agrawal, V. (2010) Satellite Orbits and Trajectories, in Satellite Technology, Second Edition, Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470711736.ch2

Author Information

  1. Both of Laser Science and Technology Centre, Defence Research and Development Organization, Ministry of Defence, India

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 SEP 2010
  2. Published Print: 15 OCT 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470660249

Online ISBN: 9780470711736



  • horizontal velocity;
  • orbital elements;
  • satellite launch vehicles;
  • satellites orbits;
  • satellites trajectories


An understanding of the orbital dynamics would give a sound footing to address issues like types of orbits and their suitability for a given application, orbit stabilization, orbit correction and station keeping, launch requirements and typical launch trajectories for various orbits, Earth coverage and so on. This chapter focuses on all these issues and illustrates various concepts with the help of necessary mathematics and a large number of solved problems. It discusses orbital elements and parameters such as ascending and descending nodes, Equinoxes, Solstices and Angles defining the direction of the satellite. The horizontal velocity with which a satellite is injected into space by the launch vehicle with the intention of imparting a specific trajectory to the satellite has a direct bearing on the satellite trajectory. The satellite orbits can be classified on the basis of: orientation of the orbital plane, eccentricity and distance from Earth.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

artificial satellites – orbits; satellite communication