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Question:
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



Replies:
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.

Arthur Smith


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...

Arthur Smith



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