One thought on “The Real Challenges Of Space

  1. Bill Cox (“The Real Challenges of Space,” Nov. 2015) makes many good points that may help future space pilots. Truly, space flight is far different than planing through thin air. But let’s reconsider whether “you probably wouldn’t notice [true gravity decrease] in the first few thousand miles from Earth.” Earth radius is about 4,000 miles and gravity decreases with increasing distance squared. For Bill’s Space Shuttle case at 370 miles up, about 9% of Earth radius, gravity decreases by about 17% and a 160-lb person drops to 134 lb. For Bill’s Navstar case at 10,800 miles up, the person drops to 12 lb, which could still be enough for careful walking. However, at either altitude, the “centrifugal force” tendency to fly off on a tangent at spacecraft speed counteracts gravity. Result: an orbital path and apparent weightlessness, equally noticeable at any orbital altitude.

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