I'm just wondering how long it takes satellites from launch to orbiting in MEO.


closed as unclear what you're asking by Hohmannfan, duzzy, TildalWave, ForgeMonkey, Fred Mar 18 '16 at 2:42

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a very broad question, that can vary considerably depending on the exact type of orbit, rocket, fuel spent, etc. You could ask for something like the shortest orbit to a GPS satellite's orbit, for instance, but as this stands, it's a bit broad. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Mar 18 '16 at 12:43

It will vary quite a bit with the exact MEO orbit and launcher used, but typically it would be something like:

  • 10-15 minutes launch from surface to a MEO transfer orbit
  • Coasting to apogee, anywhere from half an hour to several hours
  • Circularization burn taking a few minutes

That gets the satellite into the desired orbit, but the satellite's mission may require it to be in a particular position in that orbit as well; depending on the satellite's capabilities, the phasing maneuvers could take days or even weeks (for ion thruster-powered sats, e.g.) to carry out.

Here's a typical example of a launch to 20,000km circular orbit inclined at 55º:

  • ~4 minutes ascent on the first stage
  • ~13 minutes on the second stage
  • 3 hour coast to apogee
  • about 1.5 minute circularization burn

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