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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Space altitude? Sky's the limit

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Space altitude? Sky's the limit

2019 Letters to the editor stock

If you have lots of money and want to buy a joyride into space, how high is that?

Here is a simple explanation of where does space start.

But it does question if there are two official "Astronaut" wings ... depending on who gives you your wings.

Theodore von Karman was a mathematician and aeronautics expert who deduced winged flight couldn't create enough supporting lift to have a plane fly over 50 miles above sea level. I suppose this also required propulsion by an air breathing engine which is limited by the lack of oxygen above that altitude. Electric power was not considered by Karman (in the early 1900s). Would this technology make a difference in his calculations?

Some intellectuals determined that anything of the Earth can't exist above 62 miles ... which is pretty much the English measure of the metric 100 kilometers ... a compromise number? There is still enough atmosphere molecules above 62 miles to cause aerodynamic drag and slowly make an orbiting object slow from the required orbit velocity and fall back to the ground.

Perhaps space should begin at the altitude where the average eyesight can clearly see the whole disc of the Earth. I don't know that altitude. Pictures from the International Space Station haven't shown that. My estimate would be that at the distance of one Earth diameter above sea level (about 8,000 miles) a human can look at Earth and with his arms extended forward have his hands appear to hold the World.

I think that's where space begins ... and perhaps Heaven, too?

Jim Petro, Gary


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