17th July 2012 - 10:33 PM
I understand that when we put something into orbit, we usually launch toward the East in order to take advantage of the Earth's rotation. This being said, even though an astronaut in low earth orbit is orbiting the planet at a much greater rate than the Earth is spinning, can't it still be observed that the Earth is spinning? In other words, isn't the orbital velocity of something orbiting the Earth relative to the stars 1000 mph faster than the orbital velocity relative to the Earth's surface? And in even MORE words, say an astronaut is in low earth orbit at an orbital velocity of 17,500 mph relative to the stars. Wouldn't that astronaut see the Earth below him passing by a 16,500 mph simply because the Earth is rotating in the same direction as the orbiting astronaut at 1000 mph?