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Circular Geosynchronous Orbit If we wanted to know how high (the altitude) above the earth a Geosynchronous Satellite should be, we can use the formula below by inserting all the information we already know. Since we know that the earth turns every 24 hours (one day) and the period of an orbit is the time it takes to circle the earth once, the period for the satellite is approximately 24 hours. This makes the only unknown (a) in the equation below which is the orbit's semi-major axis. And, for a circular orbit the semi-major axis is just the radius.Solving for (a) we get about 42,164 kilometers. By subtracting the radius of the earth we get the altitude. The earths radius is roughly 6378 kilometers. Therefore, the altitude is approximately 35,786 kilometers.