How high is space, how far can you fall with a parachute, where is the Project Calliope satellite going to be, and where does the hard radiation from the sun get nasty? Gathered for the first time in one place is our High Altitude Explorer's Guide.
A typical airplane cruises at 9km (6 miles) up, around 30,000 feet. Military jets (from the SR-71 onward to modern planes) can hit over 30km (19 miles) up, over 100,000 feet.
Can you parachute from that height? Yes, in 1960 Joseph Kittinger set the record at 31.3km (19.5 miles), or 102,800 feet. Felix Baumgartner is trying this year, 2010, to freefall from 36km (over 22 miles), an 118,000 feet fall.
But those aren't 'space'. In the US, "space" begins at 80.4km (50 miles), or 264,000 feet. General international consensus sets a similar limit for the start of space as 100km (62 miles), or 380,000 feet.
"Low Earth Orbit" (LEO), where many satellites live, goes from 160km (100 miles, 525,000 feet) to 2,000km (1,240 miles, 6.5 million feet). In LEO, we have some sample objects to look at.
Our own Project Calliope satellite will be 230km up (143 miles, 755,000 feet). The International Space Station (ISS) cruises higher up, from 278km (173 miles, 912,000 feet) to 460km (286 miles, 1.5 million feet).
Starting above the 'space' limit but a bit before LEO, the inner Van Allen Belts, which magnetically shield the Earth's surface from high energy particles, extend from 100km (62 miles, 33,000 feet) up to 10,000km (6,200 mil, 3.3 million feet).
And geostationary orbits are at 35,786km (22,236 miles, 117.5 million feet). These geosynchronous orbits, lined up above the Earth's equator, have an orbital period equal to one day, so they 'hover' over the same spot of the Earth.
Tuesdays at The Satellite Diaries and Friday at The Daytime Astronomer (twitter @skyday)
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Top Secret: On Confidentiality On Scientific Issues, Across The Ring And Across The Bedroom
- Would New Planet X Clear Its Orbit? - And Any Better Name Than "Planet Nine"?
- Choose the next topic
- Here's How To Avoid The Gout, Ebenezer
- The Greenhouse Effect Fallacy
- Scientists Overcome Hurdles For Champion Racehorses
- The Mystery Of The Red Sea
- "It is a matter of jurisdiction. In the USA the federal government can only claim jurisdiction..."
- "Ok, so for simplicity sake, let's assume two cases. One in which the IR radiation makes 0 bounces..."
- "Why only criminalize employees of federally funded institutions? (why would it be ok for private..."
- "Hi Tommaso, Recently I became aware of he Dirac-Milne cosmological model that postulates that matter..."
- "I find it hard to understand how someone with a PhD who no doubt trusts the toxicology literature..."
- BMI is Bologna
- Energy Drinks: The Dose Makes the Poison
- California’s Prop 65: Bad For Public Acceptance Of Science, About To Get Worse
- Wear Red Today! It’s Women’s Heart Health Awareness Day
- Can Marijuana Ease NFL Players’ Pain? Claims Are All Over The Field
- Mid-Life Crisis Clusters Found In 4 US Cities
- Cambridge researcher develops smartphone app to map Swiss-German dialects
- Studies link healthy workforces to positive stock market performance
- Pioneering discovery leads to potential preventive treatment for sudden cardiac death
- Online shopping might not be as green as we thought
- Gene family turns cancer cells into aggressive stem cells that keep growing