Physics XI Content
4. Why an astronaut in a space capsule orbiting the earth experiences a feeling of weightlessness?
A person feels weight only when the surface on which he is standing exerts a reactionary force on him. Since the acceleration of astronaut and that of the satellite revolving around the earth are equal with acceleration due to gravity, the acceleration of the astronaut with respect to the satellite is zero. Hence, the astronaut feels weightlessness with respect to the satellite.