Sun-synchronous orbit

A Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO), also called a heliosynchronous orbit,[1] is a nearly polar orbit around a planet, in which the satellite passes over any given point of the planet's surface at the same local mean solar time.[2][3] More technically, it is an orbit arranged so that it precesses through one complete revolution each year, so it always maintains the same relationship with the Sun. A Sun-synchronous orbit is useful for imaging, reconnaissance satellite, and weather satellites,[4] because every time that the satellite is overhead, the surface illumination angle on the planet underneath it will be the same.

Diagram showing the orientation of a Sun-synchronous orbit (green) at four points in the year. A non-Sun-synchronous orbit (magenta) is also shown for reference. Dates are shown in white: day/month.

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