What is MEO?

By Spirent On May 14, 2012
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MEO, or medium Earth orbit, is the region of space surrounding the Earth that is commonly used by navigation satellites. Also referred to as intermediate circular orbit (or ICO), MEO is found between the low Earth orbital altitude of 2000km and the geostationary orbital altitude of 35,786km.

The MEO region is becoming increasingly congested, with the GPS constellation orbiting at an altitude of 20,200km, the GLONASS constellation at an altitude of 19,100km, the Galileo constellation at an altitude of 23,222km and the Beidou-2 (or Compass) constellation at an altitude of 35,405km.

Communications satellites that are capable of covering the North and South poles are also launched into medium Earth orbit.

Each satellite in medium Earth orbit typically takes between 2 and 24 hours to complete each orbit, and the round-trip signal latency ranges from 50 to 150ms.

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