posted on Aug, 26 2009 @ 08:42 AM
PS isnt that plane like 50 years old?
No, the average age of U-2S aircraft is 25.2 years old, and they have been significantly upgraded in that time. The original U-2 variants did date
back to the 1950s, yes.
It couldn't make it to space, it does not have enough power to do so. But if it hypothetically did its' engines would not work, as there is
no air for the jet engine to breath. But it would be able to eventually come back down due to orbital decay, although it would burn up in the
atmosphere, as it is not adequately shielded for re-entry.
To attain orbit, an orbital velocity is required, which is on the order of Mach 25. Slower than this, and the object will fall back to earth rather
quickly (The U-2S flies slower than normal airliners... under Mach 0.8). Put it this way, orbit is essentially where an object is going so fast that
it falls with the curvature of the Earth. The Space Shuttle orbits at over Mach 25, and it cannot slow down due to the energy required, and it
reenters the atmosphere at over Mach 25 - which is why it gets very hot.
Space is the point at which there is no atmosphere, there is STILL gravity. Suborbital vehicles like Space Ship 1 only reenter at speeds lower than
the speed of sound, as they do not aim to achieve orbit. This is why they have no problems with heating - there is none. Furthermore the atmosphere
doesn't end suddenly, it just slowly gets less dense till it's pretty much non-existant at 300,000 feet. The U-2S flies at a maximum of 80,000 feet
although it is very thin - above these altitudes the engine wouldn't work, and the wings would make very little lift.
It cannot go any higher than it already does because the wings cannot make enough lift - it would probably just "mush". If you pull back on the
stick and the plane will likely barely rise, rise a few feet, run out of airspeed then go back to its original altitude. You could increase the
airflow over the wings by flying faster, but the engine is already at full power at cruise, and it was not designed to go very fast. Simply put - the
U-2S doesn't come close to getting into space.
[edit on 26/8/2009 by C0bzz]