Well, yes, yes they would

Three astronauts have arrived at the International Space Station from Kazakhstan in less than the time it takes to fly from London to New York.

The ISS is some 50 miles up which is rather closer to Kazakhstan than New York is.

11 comments on “Well, yes, yes they would

  1. A comment obviously written by someone with profound misunderstanding of orbital mechanics. The one thing they definitely could not do is ascend 50 miles to rendezvous with an orbiting body. Not unless they intended to shoot it down. First they have to achieve an orbit. Then circularise that orbit to coincide with the space stations. The ISS is in something like a 90 minute orbit ( without looking it up) less than flight time to NY would be? Sub 5 hours? So it took around 3 orbits or 75,000 miles as a very rough guess.

  2. 250 miles up, but 3 orbits of the Earth as well which adds up to a lot of miles. However the speeds ARE totally different. The ISS is travelling at some 17,000MPH.

  3. Just to tidy up the above, because orbital mechanics tend to be non-intuitive. The ISS isnt nailed to the Crystal Spheres. It s orbiting at around 17,000 mph. A rocket travelling directly to it would arrive with the earths surface rotational velocity, or under 1000mph in a west east direction, to have the ISS impact it it at 16,000 mph.

  4. BiS>

    There’s no reason you can’t calculate a rendezvous at the right velocity in the right place in a single shot. Obviously you wouldn’t take off from directly underneath, and in practical terms there’s no reason to take the added risk, but it’s just as efficient as waiting an orbit between each burn.


  5. Every now and again I have a momentary fit of the willies at the thought of how thin the atmosphere is, and that there’s nothing holding it in.

  6. In fairness there is an obvious reason why Russians will get from the ISS to the ground faster than flying London to New York. The Space Station does not have a Duty Free.

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