This applet shows a satellite at 60,000 km altitude tethered to the equator of the planet. The satellite orbit is geosynchronous. The satellite can be released by clicking the Release/Shatter option.
Since satellites tethered in this way are geosynchronous, a whole set of satellites at different altitudes tethered to one point on the planet equator would form a tower radiating out from that point. However, those in low orbits ( < 42,000 km radius ) would fall to earth unless they were held up in some way. The one obvious way to do this is to connect low altitude satellites to higher orbit satellites, creating a chain of linked satellites. The next applet explores this possibility.
Each simulation is started/stopped by clicking on the Start/Stop button. With Motion trails unticked, bodies and cables are shown at their present location. In Show trails ticked, bodies and cable motion leaves a trail. The Hold option fixes the radial distance of the lowest body in the tower. The Feed option allows bodies to be fed into the base of a rising tower. The Release option breaks the cable connecting the lowest tower body to the planet. The Shatter option breaks all cables in a tower.
Applets can be restarted by returning to this page, and then reselecting them. Where the models have randomized initialization (as in the Gravitational model and the Elastic model), a new simulation starts each time the applet begins.
The larger the number of bodies and the shorter the time interval used, the slower these simulation models run.