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Question:
When attempting to leave earth's orbit how fast do space shuttles go?



Replies:
Actually, the space shuttles never try to leave earth's orbit! They are always in orbit - usually a few hundred miles up. The speed depends on the exact height of the orbit, but it is somewhere around 15,000 miles per hour, or 4 miles per second. You can compare that to the average airplane which tops out at around 500 mph, and supersonic planes can maybe reach 2000 mph, so the space shuttles are 7-8 times faster than the fastest regular planes. But that is still pretty slow compared to light, for example, which goes at 186,000 miles per SECOND - we have a long, long way to go before reaching the universe's speed limit. Actually, it is closer to 18,000 miles/hour, or 5 miles/second.

Arthur Smith



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