Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Exploding satellites.

  1. Jan 27, 2012 #1
    If a satellite orbiting the earth exploded and the debris went hurtling into space at 1000mph how far would the debris travel before it ran out of momentum

    also, what would cause it to slow down.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    2018 Award

    Drag from gas and particles would be extremely negligible, so the only real thing working against the satellite would be gravity. Most likely the debris would either end up in an unstable orbit around Earth and eventually re-enter the atmosphere, or be pushed into an orbit with the Sun. Until it hit something such as a planet it would effectively never stop moving. Also, 1000 mph isn't really that fast. The Earth itself is travelling at an average of 107,200 km/h around the Sun, and things in orbit of the Earth are moving at several miles per second.
  4. Jan 27, 2012 #3
    that's what i thought too,
    My old man wanted to know the answer to the question.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook