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In orbital mechanics, mean motion (represented by ) is a measure of how fast a satellite progresses around its elliptical orbit. The mean motion is the time-average angular velocity over an orbit. In particular for circular orbits, the angular velocity is constant, and so it equals the mean motion.
In databases of satellite orbital parameters the mean motion is typically measured in number of revolutions per day.
For satellite orbital parameters:
- is quantity of time in a day.
- is the gravitational constant,
- and are the masses of the orbiting bodies,
- is semi-major axis.
The mean motion has a unit of radian or degrees per unit time
The mean motion for satellite orbital parameters is a ratio and thus have no units
where M1 and M0 are the mean anomalies at particular points in time, and t is the time elapsed between the two. M0 is referred to as the mean anomaly at epoch, and t the time since epoch.
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