Satellite Launching Mechanism

Dec 4 • Notes • 12070 Views • 5 Comments on Satellite Launching Mechanism

Mechanism of Launching a Satellite

Theoretically a satellite could be placed into geosynchronous orbit in one step but practically it is a two or three step process. The placement of satellite in the geostationary orbit is carried on the principle of Hohmann Transfer. This post includes explanation of three commonly used satellite launching mechanism that are employed and used by Space Transport System (STS), Expandable Launch Vehicle (ELV) and Special Expandable Launch Vehicle (SELV) in detail. Launching a satellite into orbit is a process which is described by the authorities.

Generally there are three techniques that are employed as the mechanism of launching a satellite.

Satellite Launching Mechanism

Satellite Launching Mechanism

Technique First :

In the first technique, first the satellite is placed in lower circular earth orbit at an altitude of around 300 Km. Then a velocity increment is required and it is carried out by various auxiliary propulsion stages. One velocity increment changes the satellite lower circular earth orbit into an elliptical orbit with a perigee of about 300 Km and apogee at 42164.2 Km (radius of geosynchronous orbit) Then in this case second velocity increment is required and it finally places the satellite into the desired orbit. Space Transport system (STS) follows this techniques.

Second Technique :

The second technique has been used by expendable launches vehicles such as Ariane, Delta or Atlas-centaur launcher. In this case there is no initial circular orbit and the vehicle provides the necessary velocity at the perigee of the elliptical transfer orbit. Thus here only one velocity factor increment has been observed from the satellite at the apogee part.

Third Technique :

The third technique has been used by the Special Expendable Launch Vehicle such as US Titan III C and the USSR Proton launchers. In this case satellites are directly placed into geostationary orbit.

The satellite velocity at the apogee and perigee can be calculated as given below:

Vs2 = (2µ/r) – (µ/a)


  • µ = Gravitational constant
  • A = Semi- major axis
  • R = Distance from the center of the Earth to the point where velocity is required.

Above are the three most important techniques that are employed as the Satellite launching Mechanism.

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5 Responses to Satellite Launching Mechanism

  1. Anonymous says:
  2. nagarjuna says:

    i want to know about satellite launching mechanism completely.
    please let me know

  3. vishnu tejas says:

    Explain various type of launching procedures of satellite.

  4. ganesh says:

    How to launch satellite? and how much will be the inclination?

  5. Rajendra Kumar says:

    Are there launch vehicles to put satellite straight in to Geo synchronous orbit

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