Q 3.6 What is the distance between the Earth and satellite?

Distance between an observer and satellite depends on the location of the observer with respect to the satellite. A satellite is closest to an observer when it is over-head and furthest when at the edge of visibility. The distance to a satellite varies between these extremes.Geostationary satellite altitude (i.e. overhead – 90 deg elevation): 35786 km
Geostationary satellite distance when satellite is at horizon (0 deg elevation): 41680 km

Medium Earth orbit altitude (90 deg elevation): 10000–12000 km
Low Earth orbit altitude (90 deg elevation): 750-1500 km

Orbital altitude for satellite photography and surveillance is low in order to obtain a better ground clarity. Altitudes of existing satellites used for commercial imaging lie between 440 and 681 km. For very detailed surveillence such as for defence, the altitude could be as low as 200 km.

The altitude of remote-sensing satellite, such as Landsat, lie in the range 705-917 km.