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. Due to the gravitational force of attraction between an artificial satellite and the Earth, the Earth's artificial satellites are:

  • occasionally accelerating towards the Earth
  • constantly accelerating towards the Earth
  • constantly drifting away from the Earth
  • constantly decelerating
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Other questions in this quiz

2. Similarly to satellites orbiting Earth, the orbital period of a planet is longer the further away it is from the Sun. Why is this?

  • A weaker gravitational force of attraction is present between the planet and the Sun.
  • This statement is incorrect as the distance between two objects does not affect the gravitational force of attraction present between them
  • A greater gravitational force of attraction is present between the planet and the Sun.
  • Smaller planets tend to be furthest away from the Sun

3. The force between two objects increases as the distance between them decreases. This is an inverse square law. If the distance between two objects is enlarged by a scale factor of ten, what happens to the force between them?

  • It decreases to one thousandth of what it was originally
  • It decreases to one hundredth of what it was originally
  • It decreases to one tenth of what it was originally
  • It decreases to one millionth of what it was originally

4. A comet's orbit is:

  • elliptical
  • circular
  • hexagonal
  • square

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

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