The Satellite Orbit Paradox

Remember that the total energy of a satellite in a bound orbit is negative.

Recall that: or

Since: and

We can see that:


A satellite in low orbit might have, for example, -100 MJ of energy, whereas a satellite in higher orbit might have -50 MJ of energy.

A satellite in a higher circular orbit experiences less centripetal force, so can go more slowly than a satellite in a lower orbit.