MLA Citation: Bloomfield, Louis A. "Question 2"
How Everything Works 23 Apr 2018. 23 Apr 2018 <http://howeverythingworks.org/print1.php?QNum=2>.
2. As the Space Shuttle falls, does it accelerate forever and does it go faster and faster?
Yes to the first part, no to the second part. Remember that acceleration can change the direction of velocity without changing the magnitude of velocity (the speed of the object). When the space shuttle accelerates, its speed doesn't change, only its direction of travel. Although it accelerates endlessly, it never goes faster or slower. Actually, if the shuttle's orbit isn't circular, its speed does increase and decrease slightly as it orbits the earth in an ellipse, but that's an unimportant detail. For a circular orbit, the shuttle's speed is constant but its velocity (speed and direction) is not constant!

Return to HowEverythingWork.org
Generated for printing on Monday, April 23, 2018 at 3:36:41 EDT
Copyright 1997-2018 © Louis A. Bloomfield, All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy