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Orbiting the earth

  1. Sep 23, 2004 #1
    Ok so when an astronaut is orbiting the earth, lets use a hubble servicing mission as an example (if only we could get another of those). The shuttle, the astronaut outside the shuttle, and the telescope are all moving at high speed in orbit around the earth. I forget the number, like 11k miles per hour or something crazy right?

    So if you are up there orbiting, does it FEEL like you are traveling at a high rate of speed? or since you are in a gravitational orbit around the earth, it just seems as thought he earth is rotating fast relative to you?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2004 #2


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    It's about 18k mph, or ~7km / second or ~ 5mi / second.
    No, the astronaut does not feel like he is travelling at a high rate of speed. Standing on the Earth, you are moving at about 32 km / second around the Sun, but you don't experience the sensation of speed because you are moving 0 relative to your immediate surroundings. An astronaut is also moving 0 relative to his immediate surroundings, the Hubble, and the Space Shuttle, so he does not experience a sensation of great speed either. When he looks down on the Earth, it seems to move approximately at the same speed as looking down at the ground from a jet airplane. Although they're moving much faster, they're also much higher.
  4. Sep 23, 2004 #3
    well the earth is what, has a equatorial circumference around 25k miles right? so somewhere around 1 and a third hours you would have orbited the earth right?
  5. Sep 23, 2004 #4


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    It goes around the Earth in 97 minutes.
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