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.
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")
|Circular orbit • Decaying orbit • Elliptical orbit • Equatorial orbit • High orbit • Low orbit • Polar orbit • Standard orbit • Stationary orbit • Sub-orbit • Synchronous orbit|
|Lagrange point • Tidal locking|
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:
- In the script for TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", the USS Hood, the USS Enterprise-D, and the space vessel lifeform were described as being in a geosynchronous orbit above Cygnus IV. It is said in the script that, with the Enterprise-D at this orbit, the ship required minimal monitoring.
- In the script for "Peak Performance", the Enterprise-D moved into a synchronous orbit with the USS Hathaway over Braslota II.
- In the script for "Future Imperfect", the Enterprise-D moved into a synchronous orbit over Alpha Onias III.
- In the script for DS9: "Children of Time", the USS Defiant was described as being in geo-synchronous orbit of Gaia.