What keeps satellites from falling out of the sky?
What keeps satellites from falling out of the sky? The Hubble Space Telescope in orbit above Earth. (Thinkstock)
What keeps satellites from falling out of the sky?
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You asked us a question. "What keeps satellites from falling out of the sky?"
 
More than 2,500 satellites have followed the first one into space. This has happened over the last half-century. What keeps them all up?  It is a careful balance between a satellite's speed and the pull of gravity.
 
Satellites are pretty much always falling. Crazy, right?
 
They fall at the same rate that the curve of the Earth falls away from them. That is if they are moving at the right speed. This means instead of racing farther out into space or spiraling down to Earth, they hang out in orbit around the planet.
 
Changes are often needed. They keep a satellite on the straight and narrow.
 
Earth's gravity is stronger is some places than others.  Satellites can get pulled around by the sun and the moon.  And even the planet Jupiter.
 
Gravity seems to be enough to deal with. But, satellites in low earth orbit can also get pulled out of their orbit by drag from the atmosphere.  The Hubble Space Telescope is one of these satellites. 
 
This does not even include the endless game of Frogger that satellites have to play.  That is so they can avoid space junk and other high flyers.
 
Heads up!

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/junior/what-keeps-satellites-falling-out-sky/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did the author say satellites need to stay on the “straight and narrow” when satellites actually need to follow the curve of the Earth?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (46)
  • adamsp-rob
    11/19/2015 - 09:50 a.m.

    The author says this because it probably is a better way to have the satellite going straight and narrow because the satellite can get pulled by the sun, moon and Jupiter while rotating around the earth. Gravity is not the same everywhere around the earth also.

  • garciaa-rob
    11/19/2015 - 01:31 p.m.

    satilights are really important to us

  • bradleys-rob
    11/19/2015 - 01:33 p.m.

    They say that because Earth's gravity is different in some places if it follows the Earth's curve it will get pulled down at some place and drift off in others.

  • fernandez-rulea-rob
    11/19/2015 - 01:33 p.m.

    The author means staying on straight on that on path.

  • cardinalej-rob
    11/19/2015 - 01:34 p.m.

    Because making satellites curve around the earth is a bad idea the author proclaims.

  • lemonsw-rob
    11/19/2015 - 01:34 p.m.

    from my opinion the satellites stays in space because of gravity.

  • dajuie-rob
    11/19/2015 - 01:35 p.m.

    So the satellite doesn't get pulled around by the sun and moon.

  • jimeneza-rob
    11/19/2015 - 01:36 p.m.

    The author says that because changes are often needed

  • esparzaalejandree-rob
    11/19/2015 - 01:38 p.m.

    The author said this because that is the way the scientist think the satellites are.

  • littlej-rob
    11/19/2015 - 01:40 p.m.

    Because sometimes, they need to make changes and,they fall at the same rate that the curve of the Earth falls away from them .

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