posted on Mar, 30 2009 @ 05:47 PM
reply to post by The Undertaker
It's travelling at 17 THOUSAND
miles per hour to achieve orbital velocity. It HAS to be supersonic until it gets lower into the atmosphere
where the air is thicker. Terminal velocity comes into play in the lower atmosphere. During reentry the air is so thin that it doesn't create a lot
of drag on the object until it's around 100,000 feet or so.
The space shuttle is more aerodynamic, but they're deliberately trying to slow down the entire way down by turning, and aerobraking. But at 20,000
feet they're still fast enough to leave a double sonic boom over Canaveral. It's going to take a LONG time to slow down to terminal velocity,
you're not going to see it go from orbital speed, to terminal velocity quickly.
[edit on 3/30/2009 by Zaphod58]