Looking at life... from an oblique angle / and I sometimes Twitter (normally only when riled up): @brindafella

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When an orbit is not.

An body "in orbit" around the Earth is falling at the same rate as it is advancing.

Let me explain myself a little better.

For a perfectly circular orbit, the effect of gravity on the body is the same as the force that is flinging the body outward from the Earth. The effect is weightlessness.

So, when the Space Shuttle "hits the brakes" by firing the motors for the "de-orbit burn", the orbiter will then be going a little slower than is necessary to maintain the orbit. It will then fall. There is no going back; no chance to "pull over" for a bite to eat then get back on the orbital highway; no "2nd star to the right and on until morning".

As Newton did not say, "The Earth sucks." (Actually, he 'discovered' gravity!)

So, gravity will have its way and the Space Shuttle will be going 'down-hill' until gravity causes the Shuttle to meet an obstacle -- the Earth -- and it can descend no further.

With the help of God and technology, that will be on the runway at Florida.


Of course, as we all know, they were given the wave-off for the first landing opportunity.

Would that make you nervous or what?


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