Satellite Communication Systems - Design Principles

Satellite orbits - Introduction

Communication via a satellite begins when the satellite is positioned in the desired orbital position. Several types of orbits are possible, each suitable for a specific application. However, only a few types of orbits are well suited for communication. In this chapter the basics of orbital mechanics are reviewed. After a general treatment, emphasis is put on the geostationary orbit because of its importance for satellite communication. In recent years there has been a heightened interest in the use of low and medium earth orbits. A section dealing with the issue of most efficient coverage from a non-geostationary orbit is also included. In addition, several useful formulae including some interesting results on low earth orbit constellation design and useful computer programs, are summarized in appendix B.