Joined: Feb. 2008
|Quote (dogdidit @ May 21 2010,06:48)|
|Quote (SomaRover @ May 20 2010,11:15)|
|JoeG: Except it isn't deep by any measure and only people living in Antarctica live near the bottom of it.|
JoeG could be right.
The Earth bulges at the equator due to its rotation, so the poles are slightly deeper in the gravity well.
That's why the Ariane rockets are moved to French Guiana for launch: the equatorial regions are higher up in the gravity well. *snigger* Talk about being accidentally right...
More the rotation than the bulge. Altitude doesn't get you much, but ~1000 mph for free is nothing to sneeze at. So Joe is still wrong
|Quote (ppb @ ,)|
|Equatorial launches are also an easier path to geosynchronous orbit where most communications satellites end up.|
You can reach any orbit from an equatorial launch site for near minimal propellant cost (except retrograde but very few significantly retrograde orbits are used), where higher latitudes require a very expensive plane change if you want a lower inclination than your latitude. ISS is in a 51 degree orbit so that the Russian can reach it from Baikonur. Before the Russians were brought on, Space Station Freedom was planned for a 28 degree orbit to maximize payload from Florida.
Anyway, a good excuse to link this