views updated

Sun-synchronous orbit A satellite orbit that remains constant in relation to the Sun, passing close to both poles and crossing the meridians at an angle. The orbit, at a height of about 860 km (one-seventh of an Earth radius), takes about 102 minutes and carries the satellite over a different swathe of territory at each pass, so every point on the surface is overflown every 12 hours, at the same solar times each day. Compare GEOSYNCHRONOUS ORBIT; see also POLAR ORBIT.

Sun-synchronous orbit

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article