Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy

, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 455–470 | Cite as

Balanced earth satellite orbits

  • V. Kudielka


An analytic model for third-body perturbations and for the second zonal harmonic of the central body's gravitational field is presented. A simplified version of this model applied to the Earth-Moon-Sun system indicates the existence of high-altitude and highly-inclined orbits with their apsides in the equator plane, for which the apsidal as well as the nodal motion ceases. For special positions of the node, secular changes of eccentricity and inclination disappear too (“balanced” orbits). For an ascending node at vernal equinox, the inclination of balanced orbits is 94.56°, for a node at autumnal equinox 85.44°, independent of the eccentricity of the orbit. For a node perpendicular to the equinox, there exist circular balanced orbits at 90° inclination. By slightly adjusting the initial inclination as suggested by the simplified model, orbits can be found — calculated by the full model or by different methods — that show only minor variations in eccentricity, inclination, argument of perigee, and longitude of the ascending node for 105 revolutions and more. Orbits near the unstable equilibria at 94.56° and 85.44° inclination show very long periodic librations and oscillations between retrogade and prograde motion.

Key words

Artificial satellite theory luni-solar perturbations near polar inclinations 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Kudielka
    • 1
  1. 1.ViennaAustria

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