Space Environment

How do objects in space travel?

How does speed affect an orbit?

An orbit is the result of a perfect balance between gravity pulling a satellite down and the satellite going forward. A satellite that is going very fast will keep going forward very fast, because of inertia. If a satellite is going very fast, it can go forward so quickly that the pull of gravity can't keep it in an orbit. If it is going slowly, it will not go forward enough to counter the pull of gravity and crash into the thing it is orbiting around.

Changing speed is one way to change the orbit of a satellite or make a satellite leave orbit. Speed can be changed by increasing thrust to make a ship go faster, or retroburning or aerobraking to slow it down.

How do scientists know what the path of an object in space will be?
What is an orbit?
What causes an orbit to happen?
What travels in an orbit?
How does gravity work in space?
How do we put a spacecraft into orbit?
Once a ship is in orbit, do we have to do anything to keep it there?
How can a spaceship leave orbit?

How do asteroids orbit?
What is the orbital plane?
Are there orbits within orbits?
Can gravity affect the surface of objects in orbit around each other?
Why is it a good idea to launch a ship into orbit from near the equator?
What are some kinds of orbits?
What is inertia?
Why is mass important?

What are the orbital lengths and distances of objects in our solar system?
What could cause an orbit to fail?
Why do mass and distance affect gravity?
What is retroburning? What is aerobraking?