How High Are Satellites?

Catalog #: 025-06-0002
Parent Exhibit: A View From Space
Description: With this interactive, air-powered bar graph, visitors send balls shooting up a gigantic profile of the Earth’s atmosphere, revealing the orbit and flight altitudes of satellites, space stations, weather balloons, and airplanes. The last tube to the right on this exhibit shows the orbit of a weather satellite. Most weather satellites travel in geosynchronous orbit—meaning their orbit speed matches the rotation of the Earth. Satellites in geosynchronous orbit view the same part of the Earth at all times. To achieve this orbit, the satellite must be 22,300 miles from the surface of the Earth—over 50 times the altitude of NASA’s Terra satellite. Key message: Satellites view the Earth from space. Student Challenge: How many miles above the Earth does the Terra satellite orbit? (Answer: about 440 miles.) How much higher is the Terra satellite than the International Space Station? (Answer: about 190 miles higher.)
Approximate Component Dimensions: H 91 inches | W 46 inches | D 32 inches
Site Requirements
Power Required: Yes
Powered From: Ceiling
Air Pressure:
Special Notes: Bilingual

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