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Encyclopedia > Low Earth orbiting satellite

A Low Earth Orbiting satellite (or LEO satellite) is a satellite in an orbit that has a semi-major axis that is less than that of a geostationary orbit.

Reconnaissance satellites, navigation satellites and earth observation satellites for remote sensing tend to use LEO orbits.

  Results from FactBites:
Polar Orbiting Satellites (917 words)
Different types of satellite orbits have different uses: while the synchronous orbit is best for communication satellites, Lagrangian point orbits help monitor the solar wind before it reaches Earth.
The reason is that the Earth itself orbits the Sun, so that the Sun's position in the sky, relative to the distant stars, slowly rotates around the Earth, one circuit per year.
By placing the satellite in a sun-synchronous orbit near the dawn-dusk plane (90 degrees to the noon-midnight plane described earlier), not only was the interference kept small, but because the orbit's orientation relative to the Sun did not change, the disturbance also stayed more or less the same throughout the mission.
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