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[–] wahala 0 points 30 points (+30|-0) ago 

Isn't everything orbiting earth actually falling back toward it?

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[–] rwbj 0 points 30 points (+30|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Yip, with amazing illustrations included!

Here of course though they mean it's entered into a suborbital trajectory. If you just go straight up, even many thousands of miles into the sky you'll eventually come back down. Like mentioned in the link, the way you get into orbit is you go up and then go really really fast horizontally as well. When you're missing the earth, that's an orbital trajectory. When you're on a trajectory that is getting closer to the Earth, that's a suborbital trajectory.

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[–] wahala 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Thank you! That is very helpful.

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[–] Jasoman 0 points 9 points (+9|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Kinda this is what I found out.

So, the object is falling towards the Earth, but just keeps missing the Earth. This is the real reason astronauts float inside the International Space Station (ISS) - they, and the vehicle are in free-fall. It isn't because there is "zero gravity" in space, as is often said. In fact, while the acceleration of gravity on the Earth surface is about 9.81 m/s^2, at the altitude of the ISS the acceleration of gravity has only dropped to about 8.75 m/s^2. Over time, the thin mist of gas molecules in orbit decelerate the spacecraft via drag forces. That deceleration causes the vehicle to lower its orbit. Eventually the vehicle needs to fire thrusters to re-accelerate to the appropriate velocity.

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[–] EngelbertHumperdinck 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

Does this mean that the moon will eventually slam into earth? Do we have an ETA?

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[–] Broc_Lia 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Or escaping, yes. One or the other. There is no such thing as a stable orbit.

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[–] chuckletrousers 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Yeah, but what's normally done is to slow it down at the right time to bring it down in the ocean, and since the Chinese have lost control it could come down anywhere.

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[–] ElectroGypsy 1 points 10 points (+11|-1) ago 

Bet that's the last time they buy space stations made in China.

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[–] lakeyosemit 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Hopefully it doesn't have escalators.

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[–] vandilx 1 points 8 points (+9|-1) ago 

I've read elsewhere that China lost contact with Tiangong-1 in March of 2016. Clearly some sort of event happened to prevent them from being able to control the station. Here's hoping the recently-launched Tiangong-2 has that hardware/software bug fixed (if it was a bug).

Space is hard, regardless of the nation flying stuff into it.

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[–] iamjanesleftnipple 0 points 13 points (+13|-0) ago 

Someone upgraded to Windows 10...

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[–] Sinful_Casshern 1 points 1 points (+2|-1) ago 

Well put

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[–] Donbuster 1 points 5 points (+6|-1) ago 

So is ours, and just about everything else. The atmosphere doesn't just 'stop' at LEO. Everything experiences a tiny bit of drag to slow it down...

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[–] WhiteTigerScream 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Clarification; the chinese space station is going to experience an uncontrolled, unplanned fall from space to a random spot on the face of the earth.

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[–] Donbuster 1 points -1 points (+0|-1) ago 

As existing satellites do fairly frequently. Only news here is that they can't schedule it...

[–] [deleted] 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago  (edited ago)

[Deleted]

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[–] Vladar 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Actually the ISS is regularly "pushed" back to its orbit by the engines of the Zvezda module or visiting spacecrafts.

Also, to effectively de-orbit a spacecraft the one should apply a force against its moving vector, not towards Earth.

[–] [deleted] 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] Donbuster 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

I'm assuming that pushing toward earth would be easier than pushing it out into orbit again because of the stresses such a maneuver (altitude plus speed) would place on the structure.

What do you think happens to the ISS every few months to keep it in LEO? The news here isn't that its falling, the news is that China isn't going to keep it up or schedule it's crash...

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[–] Aliens- 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Well, that sounds mildly terrifying.

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[–] flat_hedgehog 3 points 2 points (+5|-3) ago 

This is important because it means Tiangong-1 won't be able to burn up in a controlled manner. All we know is it will burn up at some point in late 2017, but it is impossible to predict exactly when or where. This means that there is a chance debris from the falling spacecraft could strike a populated area.

Super. This is going to start a war.

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[–] Salnax 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Probably not. You'd be surprised how little of Earth is covered with anything besides oceans and inhospitable wastelands. Factor in how farmlands, rural areas, and even suburbs are largely empty spaces, and the likelihood of this hurting people is minimal.

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[–] WhiteTigerScream 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

So is shooting your gun into the air, but I still don't think it's a good idea.

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[–] Broc_Lia 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago  (edited ago)

This is going to start a war.

Almost certainly not. To my knowledge only one person has ever been hit by space debris, and she survived. The US would not start a war over one injury.

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[–] flat_hedgehog 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

I didn't say US. What if it hits Iran or India?

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[–] Sanji 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

I'll try to catch it!

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[–] lord_nougat 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Catch them all!

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