Share
 

Ask an Explainer

Q:

How long did it take a space shuttle to accelerate from rest to Mach 1 (the speed of sound)?

A:

The Shuttle went from 0–60 mph in five seconds, fast as any muscle car, but that was the slowest acceleration of its entire flight. It continues to accelerate from there, going faster  as it burns off fuel. The Shuttle passes the sound barrier approximately 45 seconds after launch. Due to atmospheric conditions, sometimes you can see it passing through its shockwave.

 

Categories: Propulsion