How to compute a distance between 2 satellites if I know its orbit altitude?

I know LEO-LEO satellite distance is from 1000 km until ~7000 km. But it should have a calculation equation?


Inter-satellite range: how to compute max. range?

How to compute a distance between 2 satellites if I know its each of their orbit altitude(s)?

Let's say their altitudes $h_1, h_2$ are 500 and 1200 km.

If the satellites share the same orbital plane, then you can add the two altitudes plus twice the equatorial radius of the Earth $r_{eq} = 6378$ km:

$$d_{max} = h_1 + h_2 + 2 \times 6,378 \text{ km} = 14,456 \text{ km}$$

h1, h2 = 500, 800 km

  • $\begingroup$ i am not sure we can calculate it like this. 15000 km between two LEO satellites...seems wrong $\endgroup$ Nov 25 at 10:57
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @NoelMiller which part of the calculation do you disagree with? $\endgroup$ Nov 25 at 12:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @NoelMiller it's not wrong given the question that was asked, but i would guess what you actually meant was, "what is the greatest distance at which their view of each other is not blocked by having the Earth in the way?" If you do mean that, please change the question accordingly, or accept this as the answer to the question you asked by accident. making that rigorous with regard to max range at which they can communicate then requires some modeling of what the atmosphere in the way does to your chosen signal frequency. $\endgroup$
    – Ryan C
    Nov 25 at 19:16

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