View Full Version : the shuttle @ 17,000mph

2003-Oct-03, 03:42 PM
OK, first off, how fast does Earth revolve/rotate speed wise?

2nd- what allows/forces the shuttle to orbit at 17,000 mph, and how many times does the shuttle orbit in a 24 hour period @ 17,000 mph?

Also, i read in another post about using the radiation from outer space & the sun for power on earth. Is that not an accident waiting to happen due to the fact that we have put so much space junk in space that it would only be a matter of time before this junk, collided with the instruments put up to utilize the suns radiation for our benefit.

I would think that before we go polluting more of space with our junk, wouldnt NASA be more productive to find a way to bring alot of that stuff back with us? Shouldnt we be more responsible and clean up our trash instead of adding to it? NASA rejects that the space station is in some kind of danger, but common sence would tell us that by the fact that we know even a small nut in space, hitting ANYTHING would destroy it, to me, the space station is indeed in constant danger.

If you have a 2 lane street with 5 cars travelling on it, there isnt much danger of an accident. Add another 50 cars & by default, the chances increase, add another 50 more without changing the road, there is bound to be a collision.

I just think NASA has it all *** backwards. Before putting things in space that pose a deadly danger that we have created, lets clean up the probability of an accident before we add to it.

2003-Oct-04, 02:57 AM
1. Okay ... Earth is about 12750km in diameter. The rotational velocity of earth depends on your latitude and so at the equator (0 deg latitude, 12750km diam) the velocity is about 1660km/hr.

2. The reason the shuttle orbits at 17000mph (27350kph - nearly 8km/s!!) is so that its orbit doesn't decay. Any slower and it'd basically fall out of the sky. The orbital velocity required is based on the hieght of the orbit. Think of a ball tied to a piece of string. if you want to spin the ball and have the piece of string taut then you need to impart a certain rotational velocity to it otherwise it'll just flop about. this velocity will change depending on the length of the string. The shuttle or anything else in orbit is the same. What allows (if i'm answering the right question) the shuttle to go so fast are the main shuttle engines and the solid rocket boosters. At very high altitudes there is little atmosphere to act against and only a small amount of acceleration is needed to get you going really fast.

3. The period of each orbit is roughly 90 minutes. So that's about 16 orbits a day.