How does the shuttle move?
How is the Shuttle capable of moving in space??
does it not have anything to push against? I understand that it does
but in a recent discussions with a group of friends realized that I did not
know how. Thank You
The shuttle moves the same way any rocket in space moves: it
"pushes" stuff out the back end, and conserving momentum
means the rest of it must move forward. They also use little
jets of gas to rotate, which is based on the same principle.
What the shuttle is pushing against, then, is material it
carried up into space with it.
I think that I disagree with the previous response. It depends upon
what you meant by "move". I think that the answer to your question is,
"It moves the same way that the moon does." It just sits there and lets
gravity and inertia do the rest.
You can tell us which one of us answered your question, cannot you?
Jack L. Uretsky
Good point Jack L. Uretsky. Like any orbiting object, the shuttle
can stay in orbit (moving pretty fast - around 17,000 miles/hour) without
expending any energy or pushing against anything. But it does have
to "push against" something to change that motion, for example to
switch to a different orbit, or to get ready to come back down...
Click here to return to the Physics Archives
Update: June 2012