Polar orbit

A polar orbit is one in which a satellite passes above or nearly above both poles of the body being orbited (usually a planet such as the Earth, but possibly another body such as the Moon or Sun) on each revolution. It has an inclination of about 60 - 90 degrees to the body's equator.[1] A satellite in a polar orbit will pass over the equator at a different longitude on each of its orbits.

Polar orbit

Launching satellites into polar orbit requires a larger launch vehicle to launch a given payload to a given altitude than for a near-equatorial orbit at the same altitude, due to much less of the Earth's rotational velocity being taken advantage of to achieve orbit. Depending on the location of the launch site and the inclination of the polar orbit, the launch vehicle may lose up to 460 m/s of Delta-v, approximately 5% of the Delta-v required to attain Low Earth orbit. Polar orbits are a subtype of Low Earth orbits with altitudes between 200 and 1,000 kilometers.[1]


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