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Tethered satellites (Posted on 2005-04-13) Difficulty: 3 of 5
Two identical spheres are connected by an elastic tether. The tether obeys Hooke's Law for ideal springs. At a particular moment in time, the tether is in a straight line, at its resting length, neither stretching nor contracting. This assembly is then placed into a circular orbit around the Earth, and oriented so that a line drawn from one sphere through the tether and the other sphere points directly at the Earth.

Give a qualitative description of the motion of the two spheres relative to each other over time.

See The Solution Submitted by Larry    
Rating: 3.5000 (4 votes)

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re(2): more thoughts | Comment 9 of 13 |
(In reply to re: more thoughts by Eric)

You two are quick. You posted your comments before I could post mine.

It is possible for the center of mass orbit to not be predictable. The energy that defines the orbit (potential (gravity only) + kinetic) of the center of mass changes over time. Therefore the orbit of the center of mass will change as a function of the lenght of the spring...

Edited on April 13, 2005, 11:07 pm
  Posted by ajosin on 2005-04-13 23:06:57

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