How High Are Satellites?

With this interactive, air-powered bar graph, visitors send balls shooting up a gigantic profile of the Earth’s atmosphere, revealing the orbit and flight altitudes of satellites, space stations, weather balloons, and airplanes. The last tube to the right on this exhibit shows the orbit of a weather satellite. Most weather satellites travel in geosynchronous orbit—meaning their orbit speed matches the rotation of the Earth. Satellites in geosynchronous orbit view the same part of the Earth at all times. To achieve this orbit, the satellite must be 22,300 miles from the surface of the Earth—over 50 times the altitude of NASA’s Terra satellite.

Approx. Dimensions*: Available upon request

Power: Not Required