There are more than 30 million people within this square but no visible signs of intelligence at this altitude--at least during daylight. This scene shows the west coast of the United States as it would be seen from an altitude of about 2000 km. It is possible at night to see the lights from the major urban centers from this altitude.
The Space Shuttle cannot reach this height, its normal range being between 300 and 550 km. The Hubble Telescope orbits near the Shuttle's maximum altitude at 600 km, the new International Space Station at 370 km, and the Russian Mir Space Station was in an orbit 300 km above the Earth until it was recently crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Telecommunication and weather satellites are typically placed in geosynchronous orbits high above us at an altitude of 35 680 km.
Copyright © 2016 by Bruce Bryson