# Weightlessness for astronauts

Well, this question has been puzzling me for kinda long time, many people believe that orbiting astronauts feel weightless because they are "beyond the pull of Earth's gravity"...How far from the Earth would a spacecraft have to travel to be truly beyond the Earth's gravitational influence? If a spacecraft were really unaffected by Earth's gravity would it remain n orbit? If so, what is the real reason for weightlessness in orbit?

astronauts feel weightless because they are "beyond the pull of earth's gravity"

This is a misunderstanding. Astronauts feel weightless because they are accelerating towards the earth at the same rate as the spaceship.

You've probably seen videos of the airplane used to produce weightlessness for astronaut training. The plane does this by flying in the same trajectory as a freely falling object so the freely falling astronauts are (approximately) stationary with respect to the plane. It can do this well within Earth's gravitational field. Astronauts in for example the ISS feel weightless for exactly the same reason.

In principle the Earth's gravitational field extends to infinity (or at least to the age of the Earth times the speed of light). In practice at large distances the Earth's gravitational field becomes negligable compared to other sources of gravity. Where this happens is a matter of opinion. For example the Earth's gravitational acceleration at the distance of the Moon is 1/400 $g$, which seems pretty small but it's still enough to hold the Moon in orbit.