High Earth orbit

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To-scale diagram of low, medium and high Earth orbits

A high Earth orbit is a geocentric orbit with an altitude entirely above that of a geosynchronous orbit (35,786 kilometres (22,236 mi)).[1] The orbital periods of such orbits are greater than twenty-four hours, therefore satellites in such orbits have an apparent retrograde motion – that is, even if they are in a prograde orbit (90° > inclination >= 0°), their orbital velocity is lower than Earth's rotational speed, causing their ground track to move westward on Earth's surface.

Example of satellite in High Earth Orbit[edit]

Name NSSDC id. Launch date Perigee Apogee Period Inclination
Vela 1A[2][3] 1963-039A 1963-10-17 101,925 km 116,528 km 6,519.6 min 37.8°

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