Re: Shuttle water dump

From: Tom Troszak (
Date: Thu Aug 16 2001 - 11:23:29 PDT

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    Roger wrote:
    Items in orbit travel at a speed that is partly determined
    > by the height of the orbit.  I believe atmospheric drag and gravity play
    > roles in determining the speed.  (hmm, rethinking the gravity part).
    Let me have a stab at this. Maybe a better way would be to say that
    objects in orbit travel at whatever velocity they are traveling when
    they enter the orbit (in this case launch velocity), and if drag is not
    a factor the diameter and shape of the orbit varies with the initial
    velocity and direction of the orbiting object.
    If the momentum of the object in the direction of travel is impeded by
    atmospheric drag, the the object begins to accelerate more toward the
    earth and the orbit becomes a shallow spiral inward with continuous
    acceleration toward the planet as the acceleration due to gravity
    increases (as the distance between the objects decreases).
    Tom Troszak, 
    Asheville, NC, USA
    35.601 N, -82.554 W
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