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Sorry for three questions in the three paragraphs below, but they all are around the same curiosity that I have.

In both of Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin's space flights happening in July 2021, it seems that the weightlessness part felt by the passengers is due to more or less vertical freefall (as is felt in skydiving). Is there anything different from usual skydiving in terms of the experience apart from the view and no wind hitting your face?

At any point in their flight, can they be said to be orbiting the earth, in the sense ISS or satellites do?

It is evident that they both have some tangential component of velocity, but it doesn't look at all of the magnitude that can put them in orbit temporarily. And I think to even attempt something like this will be a different ballgame because of the energy requirement. Am I right in this understanding? Lastly, is that the reason I don't see any heat shields?

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  • $\begingroup$ When above (nearly all of) the atmosphere all trajectories bound to Earth are elliptical, arguably including circles and straight-down. However folks have chosen to call those that will not complete one orbit without hitting the atmosphere hard and reentering as "suborbital" because they can not actually complete at least one full real orbit. So yes you've got the freefall stuff correct, and no those elliptical trajectories are not generally called orbits. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 19 at 6:31
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. FYI, I moved it to Physics as it was closed here. $\endgroup$
    – manisar
    Jul 19 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ Actually making a second copy of your question and posting it on a second site is called "cross-posting" and that's generally discouraged. It's not very bad in this case because there are no answers here yet, but I'll cross-post my comment there as well. The idea is that there should be only one copy of a question network-wide. [Question migration]() is the right solution, and next time you can flag for post for moderator assistance and they may migrate your question to the new site. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 19 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ See What is migration and how does it work? (found in the main meta FAQ) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 19 at 7:16
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks again, I’ll look at the link. Yeah I messed up here. Will be careful in future. $\endgroup$
    – manisar
    Jul 19 at 7:20