In a new video we can see what would happen if the International Space Station was orbiting the planet not hundreds of miles above the surface, but right up close, at the altitude of, say, a commercial jetliner This video was made using Microsoft Flight Simulator, by airplane enthusiast Benjamin Granville.
The results of the video are equal parts amazing and terrifying. The video shows the ISS blasting across the sky at ludicrous speeds — roughly 17,150 miles per hour, or five miles per second to be exact — in a stunning demonstration of blistering velocity that objects in low-earth orbit need to maintain.
If you are standing below and try to take a picture of the space station at such a low altitude, you’ll only have a fraction of a second to hit the shutter. Of course such a thing could never happen in real life, because the space station would need to overcome a monstrous amount of air resistance and it’ll also need a ludicrous amount of propulsion to maintain its velocity.
And that’s not to mention the fact that, unlike an airplane, the space station would simply fall out of the sky and succumb to gravity, since it’s not designed to glide through the air. But it’s a fun demonstration, nonetheless, of the extraordinary speed of an object that — from far away, at least — seems to be peacefully drifting through the night sky.