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Space Travel and Exploration
Planetary Science
Planet Mars
The Moon

How long does it take to orbit the earth?


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October 19, 2009 5:17PM

That depends on the size of the revolving object's orbit away from the surface of the earth.

The larger the orbit, the longer it takes for the object to complete one revolution.

The SHORTEST possible time is about 86 minutes. That's the period of an orbit that's just

high enough so that atmospheric drag doesn't immediately bring the object down.

If the orbit is about 238,000 miles out from the earth, then the period for one revolution

is about 27.3 days. There's one satellite in that kind of orbit right now.