Geosynchronous and Geostationary Satellites

Geosynchronous Satellite and Geosynchronous Orbit (GSO)

A geosynchronous satellite is a communication satellite that has an orbital period same as the period of rotation of the earth. Hence, it appears to be permanently in the same area of the sky at a particular time each day when viewed by an observer on the earth.

The orbit in which a geosynchronous satellite is placed is called geosynchronous orbit (GSO). Its orbital period is the sidereal day, i.e. 23 hours 56 minutes 4 seconds and its orbital altitude is 35,800 km.

Geostationary Satellite and Geostationary Orbit (GEO)

A circular geosynchronous satellite which is placed at 0o angle to the equatorial plane is called a geostationary satellite. It appears to be stationary at a fixed position of the sky throughout the day by a ground observer.

The orbit in which a geostationary satellite is placed is called a geostationary orbit (GEO). It is placed 35, 800 km above the earth’s equator and has an orbital period equal to the sidereal day.

Geostationary Orbit

Uses and Examples of Geosynchronous Satellites


  • Voice and data communication
  • Internet
  • Broadcasting cable TV and radio signals


  • Raduga 29 of Russia
  • Astra 1C of India
  • MEASAT 2 of Malaysia

Uses and Examples of Geostationary Satellites


  • Weather reports about a particular region
  • Weather forecasting
  • Terrestrial reports of a geographical area
  • Spy networks


  • Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GEOS) of USA
  • INSAT of India
  • Himawari of Japan
  • Fengyun of China
  • Meteostat of Europe
Samual Sam
Samual Sam

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