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Space and in-orbit travel: Can the two come together?

Speed is the rate of change in distance from one point to another. While we achieve movement at different rates, there is also an annotation of speed in space. Orbital momentum is the relative rate in speed a body needs to maintain its position in orbit. Mostly known as orbital velocity. To get a full picture, it is the speed an object in orbit has to be at so as not to be drawn back to the ground by gravity. For objects in orbit in the earth’s atmosphere like satellites it the speed at which an orbiting body needs to maintain to escape the gravitational pull back to the ground 

Standing at 200km above sea level, the average object in orbit meets to move at a constant rate of 28000km/hr. That seems like a blinding speed. That is because it is, and maintaining such speed comes at a considerable cost. Think about keeping your car at a constant rate of 28000km/hr. That’s a whole lot of fuel to burn. Yet orbital satellites beet to maintain such speed continuously to prevent a fatal drop on the surface. 

While scientists have toyed with the idea of having airplanes soar in space with cargo and passengers, the frontier is not as plausible as it may seem. The sheer volume of fuel that would need to burn to maintain such a flight would render the venture cost-ineffective. That would be unless there would be some customers with $20000 to spare in need of experiencing orbital flight in a plane, the prospect will not come to fruition soon enough 

Nevertheless, suborbital space flight is a state of suspended motion that comes a bit slower compared to orbital flight speeds. Objects in suborbital speeds tend to be at a constant state of slow free fall. While the object travels through orbit, its speeds are not quite enough to break the effect of gravity pulling the object down. Suborbital objects, while still in orbit, are subject to gravitational pull and are expected to make a landing after a prolonged time. To maintain suborbital speed or velocity, an object in the atmosphere continues to travel at 6000km/hr. In context, this speed is six times faster than the average commercial airplane 

While orbital flight might seem like a good prospect, executing such a trip would warrant a significant investment of resources with no real economical giveaway. Until scientists find new faster more productive means of fuel generation, orbital space travel would be a fabled talk