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Initial Speed of a Satellite

  1. Nov 29, 2007 #1
    If a space station is traveling in space at a speed of 5230 m/s, and launches a satellite, would the initial speed of the satellite be 0 m/s or 5230 m/s?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2007 #2

    I suppose strictly speaking, this depends on what you mean by launch. But if you're having trouble thinking it through in space, maybe this will help-- its really the same question. Imagine you're driving your car down the road, and you're holding a baseball out of the window. When you let it go, how fast is it moving?

    How fast is it moving if you throw it?

    Lastly, and this maybe beyond the intent of the question, or it may be the intent of the question, how do you measure speed? In your example, 5230 m/s compared to what?

    Hope this helps.
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