geosynchronous transfer orbit

Quick Reference


The initial elliptical orbit of an artificial satellite destined for a circular geosynchronous orbit or geostationary orbit. The GTO altitude at its apoapsis (furthest point from the Earth) is about 37 000 km. The satellite then moves to a circular orbit by rotating parallel to the Earth's Equator at apoapsis and firing its rocket engine.

Launch vehicles are often compared by the weights they can lift into GTO.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Reference entries