Satellites, Centripetal Force and Tangential Motion

A GCSE-level quiz relating to the Satellites section in the OCR Gateway Physics P5 module. It asks about the different types of orbit an artificial satellite can have around Earth, the orbital path of each type of satellite and how each satellite's distance from Earth affects its orbit.

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1. Geostationary satellites are further away from the Earth's surface. This means that a lower gravitational force of attraction is present between the satellite and the Earth. What kind of tangential speed is required to keep this satellite in orbit?

  • A low one because too high a tangential speed will cause the satellite to move away, into space.
  • A low one because too high a tangential speed will cause the satellite to fall to the Earth's surface.
  • A high one because too low a tangential speed will cause the satellite to move away, into space.
  • A high one because too low a tangential speed will cause the satellite to fall to the Earth's surface.
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Other questions in this quiz

2. A comet's orbit is:

  • square
  • circular
  • elliptical
  • hexagonal

3. The forward motion preventing Earth's gravitational pull from making a satellite fall to its surface is called:

  • friction
  • centripetal force
  • tangential motion
  • momentum

4. As a comet nears the Sun, the speed at which it travels in its orbit increases. This is because:

  • the size of the comet increases as it gets closer to the Sun
  • as the comet nears the Sun, the gravitational force of attraction between the comet and the Sun is greater
  • as the comet nears the Sun, the gravitational force of attraction between the comet and the Sun is greater
  • when the comet is further away from the Sun, the gravitational force of attraction between the comet and the Sun is greater

5. Gravity provides something, without which objects such as planets would not orbit their stars and instead move away at a tangent. What is it that gravity provides that prevents this from happening?

  • Centripetal force
  • Friction
  • Tangential motion
  • Momentum

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