How do astronaut go into space and return to earth if earth is revolving at an high speed?

Expert Answers
jseligmann eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The earth, at the equator, is about 25,000 miles in circumference. Since the earth makes one full rotation in 24 hours, that means that the earth is going about 1,000 miles and hour. Pretty hard to believe right? But it's true. Nobody feels this extreme speed because the earth is so big relative to us, and the motion is uniform and steady.

To go into earth orbit, an astronaut has to be in a spacecraft that can accelerate him to about 17,000 miles per hour. At that speed, he can stay in orbit at an altitude of about 150 miles for as long as he wants.

To get back down, all he has to do is to get his craft to slow down, usually by firing retro-rockets. If he slows down, he falls out of orbit and down to the earth. The only tricks then are to do the calculations necessary to both re-enter the earth's atmosphere and then slow down enough to match the rotational speed of the earth (again about 1,000 miles per hour), open a parachute at the right time, and drift down to earth.