An elementary, but puzzling question

From: Roger Curry (
Date: Fri May 19 2000 - 08:19:06 PDT

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    From the point of view of a satellite, it is following a straight 
    path around the Earth, but from the point of view of the 
    ground, it crosses the equator twice during each orbit 
    and reaches a northern and southern latitude equal to the 
    angle it crosses the equator.
    When a rocket is launched from, say, KSC, is it programmed 
    to fly south of east so that it crosses the equator somewhere 
    over Africa if it is in a 28.5 deg. inclination orbit, or does it just 
    travel east and somehow the axial tilt of the Earth does the 
    job of making it cross the equator twice?  I have used a pencil 
    held just above a rotating globe at the latitude of KSC and 
    it remains at the same latitude all the way around.
    Thanks for any elucidation, and I hope the answer is not so 
    obvious that people will be saying, "Duh!".
    Clear skies.
    Roger in Jacksonville, FL.
    Nice view of the shuttle launch here this morning, BTW!
    Roger Curry
    Jacksonville, Florida
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