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So in a previous question, How much variation in orbit altitude is caused by gravitational variation, in LEO? we established that an LEO orbit of ~200 km would actually change altitude by up to +/-20 km.

My question is, what speed variation would there be, if any, over the course of such an orbit? Precision better than order of magnitude not required but appreciated.

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    $\begingroup$ You think of a circular orbit or an elliptical one? But at a height of 200 km the orbit would decay within a few weeks. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Apr 27 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ Circular orbit. Orbital decay isn't an issue; I'm trying to understand the impact on speed and it's interaction with height. At a higher orbit, decay would take longer, I accept,. $\endgroup$ – user2702772 Apr 27 at 20:14
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From the same simulation of the linked question I obtain the following result:

enter image description here

The Earth's gravity field is modeled with the SGG-UGM-1 gravity model truncated to the degree and order 15 (for this kind of simulation, J2 + J3 would suffice). No atmosphere.

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  • $\begingroup$ Perfect, and this leads to a third, rather more crazy question when I'm at a PC $\endgroup$ – user2702772 Apr 29 at 15:37

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