So if we have a satellite in a non circular orbit, can't state a time independent altitude (we can only state the altitude at a given time). We can however state a constant value for the semi-major axis (I'm ignoring orbit perturbations here). The semi-major axis is the in essence;

(perigee altitude + apogee altitude + 2 x radius of Earth)/2

So is there a term specifically for;

semi-major axis - radius of Earth

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ It's sometimes referred to as "mean orbital altitude". I'm not aware of any other term for this. $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Jul 23, 2015 at 17:47


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