Gravitational forces

  • Thread starter nweis84
  • Start date
I have this problem i have been trying to solve and can't seem to get it right. The question states:

The space shuttle is in orbit 396.9 km above the surface of the earth. What is the gravitational force on a 0.64 kg sphere inside the space shuttle?

mass earth = 5.98x10^24 kg
radius of earth = 6.37x10^6 m

I've tried using the equation F= (G*M*m)/r^2 and the answer i got was about 5.57 N

for the distance above earth i converted the units and added them to the earth's radius so I'm not sure what I could be doing wrong.

is it possible that i am using the wrong equation all together?
Last edited:
r is defined as being the distance between the two point masses.

I might be wrong, but for this problem, would you not just use the distance from earth as r?
F = GMm/r^2 , G is the universal gravity, M is mass of the object acting the force,
m is the mass of the object that the force is acted upon, r is the distance between the center of the earth and the center of the object in space.

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