9458

Condition for Free Fall around Earth

For a body to stay in orbit around Earth, it must travel tangentially (magenta arrow) with a velocity that lets the body fall a radial distance due to the force of gravity (black arrow) in such a way that it follows the curvature of Earth (yellow arrow). The resultant displacement can be represented as the sum of both motions (blue arrow). As an example, astronauts inside a space shuttle appear to be floating in zero gravity with an absence of gravity, but actually they are continuously falling around Earth.
It is easy to calculate that near Earth's surface a body must travel tangentially at about 7.9 kilometers per second to stay in orbit.

THINGS TO TRY

SNAPSHOTS

  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
    • Share:

Embed Interactive Demonstration New!

Just copy and paste this snippet of JavaScript code into your website or blog to put the live Demonstration on your site. More details »

Files require Wolfram CDF Player or Mathematica.









 
RELATED RESOURCES
Mathematica »
The #1 tool for creating Demonstrations
and anything technical.
Wolfram|Alpha »
Explore anything with the first
computational knowledge engine.
MathWorld »
The web's most extensive
mathematics resource.
Course Assistant Apps »
An app for every course—
right in the palm of your hand.
Wolfram Blog »
Read our views on math,
science, and technology.
Computable Document Format »
The format that makes Demonstrations
(and any information) easy to share and interact with.
STEM Initiative »
Programs & resources for
educators, schools & students.
Computerbasedmath.org »
Join the initiative for modernizing
math education.
Powered by Wolfram Mathematica © 2014 Wolfram Demonstrations Project & Contributors  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  RSS Give us your feedback
Note: To run this Demonstration you need Mathematica 7+ or the free Mathematica Player 7EX
Download or upgrade to Mathematica Player 7EX
I already have Mathematica Player or Mathematica 7+