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?
- Is The X(5568) A True Resonance ?
- How We Predict Climate For Decades - Yet Can't Forecast Weather For Ten Days - Chaos Patterned With Order
- The Five Stages Of A Dying Theory
- Neanderthals: Not So Dumb
- Time, Wittgenstein And Language Scaffolding
- Should Pregnant Women Be Concerned About BPA?
- Russian scientists increase DVD storage capacity million times
- "I've just written this up as a short article:I get some people who ask me to reassure them that..."
- "Hi Tommaso, I really want to read your book but the price looks rather high for such a product..."
- "As the great Andrew Martin once said One is glad to be of service. :-)But seriously, this..."
- "Tracy, no there is nothing to be scared of. I get some people who just ask me to reassure them..."
- "Is there anything to be scared of then Mr walker coz these who are saying its real are saying we..."
- At High Altitude with Buzz Aldrin
- Another Day, Another Children's Homeopathic Product Recalled
- Annoying Studies’ Series: Newborn Weight Gain (Again!)
- Five PM? Time for Breakfast!
- Include Aerobic Fitness in Physical Exams, Heart Association Recommends
- Female Vervet Monkeys Assault Males that Do Not Participate in Fights