# Space Station in atmosphere with continuous reboosting to preserve orbit

I recently watched the series Altered Carbon. In that series, they showed a floating space station called "Head in the Clouds". There is a blue sky here, even clouds. This would imply a height of <15km. It seems to be kept up solely using thrusters.

Let's say we want to put a space station into orbit at 18km. The orbital speed at this height would be 7.9km/s. However, it would suffer orbital decay. Even the ISS does at a height of ~400km, and according to Wikipedia altitudes below 160km will suffer "very rapid orbital decay"Wikipedia.

So the question is; how much acceleration would be required to counter this orbital decay and keep a space station in orbit at 18km? How about the mesosphere? What is the function for acceleration required at a given height to keep it in orbit (i.e, orbital decay as a function of altitude)?

• 1) That orbital speed cannot be right. km/s? 2) Your station would be a plasma trail in seconds. Feb 28, 2018 at 14:26
• In the show, the flying "Head in the clouds" is not actually in orbit. It just hovers over a specific spot. Orbiting at 18 km height in the traditional sense isn't really possible as air friction would disintegrate basically anything traveling at an orbital speed. Traveling at 7.9 -km/s- is the equivalent of 28440 kmh or mach 23--the current speed record by military jets is only a mere mach 6.8 Feb 28, 2018 at 14:54
• Related Feb 28, 2018 at 17:32