Why Are Astronauts Weightless?

I have been working with Catalyst on ABC1 to bring some Veritasium to Australian TV. In this segment I ask why astronauts in the space station are weightless. The most common answer is because there is no gravity in space. But of course there is gravity in space, especially where the space station is located (only about 400km from Earth’s surface). So astronauts still experience a gravitational pull – it’s just that they and the space station are in free fall so they are accelerating together towards the Earth. The space station doesn’t crash into the Earth because of its orbital velocity – it’s going 28,000 km/h so as it falls, the Earth curves away from it.

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