[amsat-bb] Re: ISS a Satellite or an airplane?

Alexandru Csete alexc at phys.au.dk
Sat Sep 15 04:34:44 PDT 2007

On Sat, 15 Sep 2007 04:28:22 -0400
Steven Raas <sraas at optonline.net> wrote:

> Ide have to disagree on both. It's a space craft..an entire different
> entity. Its an orbiting spacecraft, that can be taken out of orbit at
> any time, and not @ random.. probably de classifying it as a sat.
> That's just a stab at the real reason.. works in my head tho.

A satellite is an object that orbits another, usually heavier object,
and the motion is governed by the gravitational laws. You may even add
the additional constraint that the orbit has to be closed orbit (i.e.
not an interplanetary orbit).
The Moon orbits the Earth, therefore it is an Earth orbiting satellite.
The ISS orbits the Earth, therefore it is also an Earth orbiting

The point is that being a satellite has nothing to do whether the
object is a spacecraft or not. Surely, the ISS is also a spacecraft,
since it is a vehicle designed for human spaceflight.


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