Julia K.

asked • 05/07/18

A satellite orbiting the earth has a speed of 5.5 km/s when its distance from the center of the earth is 11,000 km. Is the satellite in a bound orbit?

A satellite orbiting the earth has a speed of 5.5 km/s when its distance from the center of the earth is 11,000 km. Is the satellite in a bound orbit?
 
I have already calculated that the satellite is not in a circular orbit, but I know elliptical orbits can be bound so that is not very helpful. I also know that anything in a bound orbit has negative total mechanical energy, so is that how you would approach solving this problem?
 
which would be E mechanical = K + U = 1/2 m2v^2 - (Gm1m2)/r ? And we have all the values except the mass of the satellite itself? Or is there a better way to approach this problem?
 
Thanks!

1 Expert Answer

By:

Arturo O. answered • 05/07/18

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Experienced Physics Teacher for Physics Tutoring

Julia K.

thank you so much! I got help from a tutor at my school but don't understand how they said it was bound based only on the fact that the orbit was larger than the radius of earth. this makes much more sense to me. thanks again!
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05/08/18

Arturo O.

You are welcome, Julia.
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05/08/18

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