Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha

The Enterprise keeping on top of Gideon's equatorial capital

Hood with Enterprise-D

USS Hood and Enterprise-D orbiting Deneb IV

Mag-lev carriage closeup

A mag-lev carriage on a Nezu orbital tether

Synchronous orbit was a spatial relation in which an object orbits a massive body (usually a planet) in the same period that the body rotates, and does so in the same direction, often at an equatoral incline. To an observer an object so orbiting would generally appear to oscillate north and south (in a figure eight, teardrop, or elliptical pattern) before returning to its original position at the completion of one day. The term geosynchronous orbit generally refers to such an orbit around Earth or Earth-type planets. A (geo)synchronous orbit positioned in an equatorial orbit was known as a (geo)stationary orbit.

The USS Enterprise maintained a "synchronous orbit over the capital city of Gideon" in 2268. (TOS: "The Mark of Gideon")

The Vaadwaur placed a sentry satellite in orbit directly above their capital city. (VOY: "Dragon's Teeth")

A space elevator or orbital tether was a particular type of stationary space station, connected to the equatorial surface by an extremely long cable. The Nezu of the Delta Quadrant used such structures in their colonizations. (VOY: "Rise")

USS Voyager parked in a high synchronous orbit over Kelemane's planet in 2375, at an altitude of 57,000 kilometers above the planet's equator. (VOY: "Blink of an Eye")

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Background information[]

Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards

The areostationary part of Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards

Satellites, stations and ships orbiting in lockstep with Earth rotation are said to be "geosynchronous"; those about Mars "areosynchronous".

These terms can however be used loosely, to describe orbits about other planets. In the 2006 novel Captain's Glory by William Shatner and Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens, James T. Kirk found himself in geostationary orbit above Vulcan. The novel Spock's World used "hephaistosynchronous".

According one draft of the script for "The Dauphin", the harmonic resonance Wesley Crusher and Salia heard while observing Rosseau V was caused when "the orbits of the moons [became] synchronous," rather than to say that "the harmonic resonance from the neutrino clouds will become synchronous"

Script orbital references[]

Several script references were made to vessels being in (geo)synchronous of various planets, that were not stated as being as such in the following episodes' dialogues:

External links[]