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315 views5 pagesThis work expresses the author's analysis, opinions, and conclusions about the orbital mechanics, in particular, the gravitational force and the moment of Inertia of any orbiting body (mass). The gravitational force should overcome the colossal moments of Inertia of any orbiting masses to pull them down to lower orbits.

Apr 25, 2019

© © All Rights Reserved

This work expresses the author's analysis, opinions, and conclusions about the orbital mechanics, in particular, the gravitational force and the moment of Inertia of any orbiting body (mass). The gravitational force should overcome the colossal moments of Inertia of any orbiting masses to pull them down to lower orbits.

© All Rights Reserved

315 views

This work expresses the author's analysis, opinions, and conclusions about the orbital mechanics, in particular, the gravitational force and the moment of Inertia of any orbiting body (mass). The gravitational force should overcome the colossal moments of Inertia of any orbiting masses to pull them down to lower orbits.

© All Rights Reserved

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To move a spaceship, or a spacecraft, or International Space Station as well as any other orbiting body (mass) to a lower orbit, one just needs to decrease their

speeds (magnitudes of their velocities):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_maneuver

https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/OrbitsCatalog

All of those bodies (masses) have the colossal moments of Inertia 𝐼 which are defined by the following formulas in according to the classical mechanics:

1) For the circular motions*: 𝐼𝑐𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 = 𝑚 ∗ 𝑟 2 , where 𝑚 is a mass of an orbiting body, 𝑟 is a radius of the body orbit or the position vector magnitude;

2) For the elliptical motions**: 𝐼𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑝𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 = = = 𝑣𝑝 = 𝑚 ∗ 𝑟𝑝2 ∗ sin 𝜃𝑝 , where 𝑣𝑝 is a body speed at some point, 𝑟𝑝 is a

𝜔 𝜔

𝑟𝑝

distance (or the position vector magnitude) from the Earth center to some point (or the center of the body mass), 𝜃𝑝 is an angle between the position

vector and the body velocity vector at some point.

The moment of Inertia in the circular and elliptical motions is a physical property of an orbiting body that cannot be canceled in any mathematical operations. Also,

the moment of Inertia is a scalar physical parameter which depends on a mass of an orbiting body and an orbital radius (magnitude of the body position vector in

the elliptical motion). The latter is a distance from the Earth center to the center of the orbiting body mass. Therefore, the moment of Inertia does not depend on

the speed of the orbiting body. So if the moment of Inertia opposes the gravitational force, then the gravitational force must overcome the colossal moments of

Inertia of the orbiting bodies so that the gravitational force can pull down the orbiting bodies to lower orbits. However, it appears to be impossible because the

moment of Inertia is very large even for small orbiting bodies (masses), but the gravitational acceleration is just about 9.8𝑠𝑚2 near the Earth surface (see diagrams

on pages #2 and #5). Such a small acceleration cannot be compared with very large rotational radii of the orbiting bodies, so only the Earth radius is approximately

6,371,000 meters. Let’s approximately calculate the comparable force on the next page.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia

** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZ9y4zcfCPs page 1

The moment of Inertia of the orbiting body (1 kilogram) is a scalar physical property, that is, it does not depend on any direction based on 𝐼 = 𝑚 ∗ 𝑟 2 ; therefore, it

acts at any direction. Assume the Earth is an ideal sphere, then the gravitational force pulls any orbiting body down to the Earth center. Hence, the gravitational

force must overcome the body moment of Inertia to pull the body down to a lower orbit. It is known that any orbiting body should decrease its speed to move to a

lower orbit; however, how it is possible if the gravitational force is so small comparing with the colossal moment of Inertia and the moment of Inertia does not

depend on the body speed based on 𝐼 = 𝑚 ∗ 𝑟 2 ? Notice that the gravitational force exerts the body directly and pulls it linearly; hence, a torque is not applicable

for their interaction.

Orbiting body (1 kilogram) has the moment of Inertia equal

to 45846441000000 𝑘𝑔 ∗ 𝑚2 based on 𝐼 = 𝑚 ∗ 𝑟 2

Earth

(assumed an ideal sphere)

page 2

The moment of Inertia is a scalar physical parameter which means that the moment of Inertia acts independently of any direction. That is, the moment of Inertia

should exist in the direction of the gravitational force and probably oppose it. Now, let’s try to figure out a force necessary to overcome the orbiting body moment

of Inertia.

The applied torque 𝜏𝑐𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 to the circularly orbiting body is calculated in this way*:

𝜏𝑐𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 = 𝐼𝑐𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 ∗ 𝛼

where 𝐼𝑐𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 is the circularly orbiting body moment of Inertia, 𝛼 is the body angular acceleration.

This torque 𝜏𝑐𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 is for accelerating a body along a circular trajectory, say, from zero speed. In general, a torque is defined by an applied force 𝐹𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑑 and a

rotational radius 𝑟𝑐𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 . Hence, if the moment of Inertia opposes the gravitational force, then one can approximately calculate a force that may be required to

pull an orbiting body from its current orbit to a lower orbit, in other words, calculate a force necessary to overcome the colossal moment of Inertia at the direction

of the gravitational force, that is, along the Earth radius. To calculate the force, simply replace an angular acceleration with the gravitational acceleration 𝑔 and a

torque with a applied force. Though, the classical mechanics does not contain such an operation, but it also does not consider the moment of Inertia as the effect

opposing the gravitational force in the orbital transitions. By the way, ignoring the moment of Inertia as a physical property opposing the gravitational force seems

to be at least strange if the moment of Inertia is a scalar parameter, that is, it does not depend on any direction. Let’s make these replacements and calculations

for a mass equal to 1 kilogram inside International Space Station if its rotational radius is nearly 6,771,000 meters**:

3

2

𝐹𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑑 = 𝐼𝑐𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 ∗ 𝑔 = 𝑚 ∗ 𝑟𝑐𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 ∗ 𝑔 = 1𝑘𝑔 ∗ 67710002 𝑚2 ∗ 9.8𝑠𝑚2 = 449,295,121,800,000 𝑘𝑔 ∗ 𝑚

𝑠2

Therefore, the gravitational force should be numerically comparable with 449,295,121,800,000 to overcome the moment of Inertia of the orbiting body (1

kilogram) so that the gravitational force can pull the body to a lower orbit. However, the gravitational force 𝐹𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑣𝑖𝑡𝑦 is even less than 9.8𝑠𝑚2 ∗ 1𝑘𝑔 because the

gravitational acceleration at high orbits is less than that on the Earth surface.

You may have noticed that I did not make calculations for the elliptical motions (orbits). We just need to use the position vector magnitudes and sines at every

point of the elliptical orbits, and appropriate accelerations.

However, the orbiting bodies move to lower orbits when they decrease their speeds. Why does the orbiting body moment of Inertia not oppose the gravitational

force? We may contemplate about the equivalence of the gravitational mass and inertial mass. But, how may such a large moment of Inertia and the gravity be

related in this case?

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia

** https://www.scribd.com/document/402094292/Rethinking-the-classical-mechanics-orbital-mechanics-Part-5-of-10 page 3

It should be mentioned that the statement that all physical properties (or laws) are the same in one frame of reference is just a description of our observations.

The same may be said about relativity of Inertia. That is, we see that astronauts can easily move different subjects (masses) inside International Space Station;

however, these subjects have the colossal moments of Inertia with respect to an observer on the Earth surface. Such an observer would need to apply a lot of

power to move those subjects if this observer could reach them assuming the observer could do it without applying any lever (unrealistic situation, but just to feel

a contrast). Saying the moment of Inertia is relative is just our description.

In other words, the statement does not explain how it works in the real world. For example, it does not explain what physically happens with astronauts that they

can easily move various subjects (masses), even though a small subject (1 kilogram) has the colossal moment of Inertia around 45,846,441,000,000 𝑘𝑔 ∗ 𝑚2

onboard International Space Station*. At the same time, an observer on the Earth surface must apply a tremendous effort to move those subjects!

* https://www.scribd.com/document/402094292/Rethinking-the-classical-mechanics-orbital-mechanics-Part-5-of-10

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