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Q & A: weight in a stationary rocket

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Most recent answer: 04/07/2013
Q:
If my orbital speed around the sun was zero and I was the same distance from the sun as the Earth, and my rocket was firing at the exact velocity to hold my position to keep the rocket from from falling towards the sun but no greater, what would my 200 lb Earth body weigh on the rocket ship scales? I am guessing a bit less than 800 lbs. What do you say?
- john sutton (age 65)
Williamsburg, va
A:
I get about 0.0012 lb.

You'd be stationary in a gravitational field. The field acceleration g is 4π2R/T2, where R (~150,000,000 km) is the distance to the Sun) is the time for a circular orbit (1 year or 3.2*107 s). So g is about 6*10-5 m/s2, compared to ~10 m/s2 on the Earth's surface. So your weight would be ~6*10-6* 200 lb.

Mike W.

(published on 04/07/2013)

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