The Clarke Orbit is also known as the geosynchronous orbit. It was discovered by Arthur C. Clarke in 1945 as part of an article in Wireless World. It has been called the Clarke Orbit in his honor.

The Clarke orbit is 22,300 miles above the equator. The speed necessary to keep a satellite in this orbit matches the rotational speed of the earth. Because this speed closely matches earth's rotation, only minimal adjustments in speed and direction are required to keep the satellite on station. Each satellite is required to stay in a box within 45 miles of its intended position.

Currently, there are many satellites located in this orbit. Many of them are used for communication between various points on the hemisphere. Using these satellites, signals can be sent to all points on Earth except for the most extreme North and South latitudes. To keep signals a satellite from interfering with another, satellites must have at least 2 degrees of separation.

Misc Facts

  • Earth's Diameter: 7927 miles
  • Earth's Circumference: 24,903 miles
  • A point on the surface at the equator travels 24,903 miles in 24 hours. (1037 mph)
  • Clarke Orbit diameter: 52,527 miles (22,300 * 2 + 7927)
  • Clarke Orbit circumference: 165,018 miles
  • One degree arc on this circle: 458 miles. Satellites are required to remain 916 miles apart.
  • Speed of satellite in Clark Orbit: 6875 mph.

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