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Investigation in to how the force of gravity on a satellite and the radius of the orbit affects the speed necessary to maintain the orbit of the satellite

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Introduction

Satellite Orbit Investigation Aim To investigate how the force of gravity on a satellite and the radius of the orbit affects the speed necessary to maintain the orbit of the satellite. Prediction When a satellite orbits round a planet it moves in a circular motion. An example of a satellite is the moon moving round the Earth. A satellites speed stays the same because speed = distance/time and it is always taking the same time to travel a certain distance. However its velocity changes because velocity is speed in a direction. Speed is a size but velocity is a size and a direction. As a satellite orbits a planet it changes direction constantly. If something is moving in a circular motion needs a force to change its direction constantly. This force is called a centripetal force. For a satellite moving round a planet this force is gravity. The direction of this force is towards the centre of the planet. In our experiment we will be using a rubber bung attached to a piece of string. The bung will represent the satellite and the tension in the string will act as a centripetal force. When a satellite is orbiting a planet it is accelerating even though its speed is constant. It is accelerating towards the centre of the planet but it doesn't crash because their sideways motion is so fast that the fall matches the curve of the planet. ...read more.

Middle

In this experiment I make sure that the following things stay the same - the bung because a different bung will mean a different mass which will change the speed. The equipment to make results are collected using the same equipment to make sure they are as accurate as possible, in one experiment the force because this affects the speed, in the other experiment the radius because this affects the speed. I will change the force in one experiment to see how this affects the speed and the radius in the other to see how this affects the speed. I think that the larger the force is the faster the bung will go because the force must be balanced. As the force is increased the speed has to increase to counteract it. Also the larger the radius the faster the bung will go. I expect my results to be similar to those in my predicted velocity table. We are going to repeat each force and weight combination 10 times and take averages to get as accurate as possible results. As two of the combinations from both experiments are the same 0.1m radius and 2N force we will only need to do this experiment once. I am going to record the time in seconds to 1 decimal point because a person operating a stopwatch is not going to be able to time more accurately then that. ...read more.

Conclusion

I have circled anomalous results on my radius graph because they didn't fit the line of best fit. However as I mentioned in my conclusion I couldn't do this on my force experiment results because my results were wrong. However our results aren't 100% accurate due to things beyond our control. It is impossible to keep the radius at exactly the same point because a person is controlling it. Another problem is because a person is operating the stopwatch the speed of their reactions affects the accuracy of the timing. The experiment is suitable because it answered the question we were answering. It allowed us to see how changing the radius of an orbit affects the speed of an orbit. The apparatus was suitable because it allowed us to perform the experiment to a suitable enough degree of accuracy and produce results that make sense on the radius experiment. I think the experiment is also suitable for the force experiment but ours went wrong because of problems with the timing or keeping the radius the same each time. The experiment could be more accurate if it was being controlled by a computer. This would allow the radius to be kept exactly the same and for the timing to be as accurate as possible. Another way it could be improved is by somehow making the inside of the tube friction free as the friction increased the force which affected our results compared to the theoretical results. ...read more.

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