How Fast Does a Spacecraft Orbit?

Credit: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

To maintain a circular orbit just above Earth’s atmosphere, a spacecraft must move at about 8 kilometers (5 miles) per second. Increasing the spacecraft’s launch velocity will make it swing farther from Earth. Increasing it to 11 kilometers (7 miles) per second will make the spacecraft escape from the Earth altogether.

Categories: Flight Dynamics
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