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circular velocity




The horizontal velocity of an object required to keep it in a circular orbit at a given altitude about a planet or other gravitating mass. It is given by √[G(M + m)/R], where G is the gravitational constant, M is the mass of the central body, m is the mass of the orbiting body (which can be ignored, for example, in the case of an orbiting spacecraft), and R is the distance separating the orbiter from the center of the gravitating body.


Related entry

   • orbital velocity


Related categories

   • CELESTIAL MECHANICS
   • CLASSICAL MECHANICS