ISS Speed

Jun 23, 2020
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This is probably a stupid question but here goes: Since the ISS is traveling at 17,500 miles per hour in a low Earth orbit, how are the astronauts are able to go outside of it to do maintenance and repairs?
 

COLGeek

Moderator
Apr 3, 2020
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Because they are moving at the same relative speed. Think of it like being able to walk about an airplane in flight or a train moving down the tracks.
 
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Jun 1, 2020
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Adding to what COLGeek stated, there is no wind up there to push away an astronaut if they step outside the door.

Perhaps more confusing and answer would be to us General Relativity and note that it is proper to consider that the Earth is rotating under them at 17,500 mph and they are still.
 
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Jun 23, 2020
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Because they are moving at the same relative speed. Think of it like being able to walk about an airplane in flight or a train moving down the tracks.
But if I were outside and traveling on the roof of that train, or if I had chosen to travel on the exterior wing of that plane, and then I chose to step off, I would no longer be traveling at that vehicle's speed, would i? So how can the astronauts step off the space station's exterior apparatus and not go flying out into space?
 

COLGeek

Moderator
Apr 3, 2020
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But if I were outside and traveling on the roof of that train, or if I had chosen to travel on the exterior wing of that plane, and then I chose to step off, I would no longer be traveling at that vehicle's speed, would i? So how can the astronauts step off the space station's exterior apparatus and not go flying out into space?
Air resistance vs the vacuum of space.
 
Nov 16, 2019
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Adding to what COLGeek stated, there is no wind up there to push away an astronaut if they step outside the door.

Perhaps more confusing and answer would be to us General Relativity and note that it is proper to consider that the Earth is rotating under them at 17,500 mph and they are still.
You mean no atmosphere (not wind).
 
Nov 16, 2019
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No. Wind would present a force that would move the astronaut. People on our equator are traveling more than 1000 mph but unless there is a wind, then they won't move even if on roller skates.
You don't need wind for air resistance, you need an atmosphere.
 

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