I wonder whether those X-15 and SpaceShipOne flights that reached space took into account the rotational Coriolis forces, so that they wouldn't reenter above a location where it would be too far from their spaceport to go to. Where the rotational forces during their flights enough so that they had to be taken into account? Around 50 mi (80 km) altitude there are half aerodynamic lift and half rotational force acting on a spaceplane, above that altitude the centripetal force is stronger. These are very approximate values of course, and I'd like to know for which flights the rotation force was being taken into account.

  • $\begingroup$ The X-15 never flew in a horizontal direction at high speed and great heights. It flew a very steep parabola, not covering large amounts of distance on the ground. $\endgroup$ – asdfex Sep 1 '20 at 9:51
  • $\begingroup$ @asdfex But what about those two flights that went above 100 km? If they flew such steep parabola they anyway must have flown horizontally relative to the surface due to rotation. I wonder how large the difference was. $\endgroup$ – Giovanni Sep 1 '20 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ The difference was tiny. There was no flight that stayed above 80km for 2-3 minutes. $\endgroup$ – asdfex Sep 1 '20 at 10:43
  • $\begingroup$ @asdfex can you source that, please? $\endgroup$ – Giovanni Sep 1 '20 at 10:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ X-15 never got anywhere close to orbital speed. Karman line type calcs don't apply. Your line about "around 50 mi" is not correct, it's not the altitude that matters. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Sep 1 '20 at 11:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.