I found 2 formulas for calculating height. First is:

height = magnitude(satillate_position_vector) - Earth_radius

Second is:

height = Semimajor_axis * (1 - eccentricity) - Earth_radius

Which of them is correct for calculation? And if them both correct then which of these formulas is used for. Because results are different even if I use satillate_position_vector for calculating orbital elements like Semimajor_axis and eccentricity.


1 Answer 1


The first formula gives you the altitude at a particular point in the orbit, assuming that the position vector is the satellite's current position relative to the center of the Earth.

The second formula is the altitude of the periapsis (lowest point) of an elliptical orbit.


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