In order to successfully dock the spinning Endurance spacecraft, they had to synchronise with it and TARS informed them that Endurance’s spin was ~70RPM. Wiki gives this formula for calculating gravity which seems very high.

What was the G-Force that the crew encountered and was this a realistic amount?

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    This is probably going to require some real-world physics to answer, which is off-topic here. You might be able to ask it on Physics.SE, who could tell you whether this formula is appropriate. The production team built full-sized versions of the Ranger and the Lander (fxguide.com/featured/…), so you might be able to find some details of those to use as the radius.
    – alexwlchan
    Apr 17, 2015 at 21:45
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    @Richard, no - it was the request for us to do mathematical calculations and comparison to real physics.
    – phantom42
    Apr 18, 2015 at 5:51
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    @Richard OP links to formulas, not completed work, and then asks if it's a realistic amount - asking to compare to real-world physics. I know you want to answer the question, but it's off-topic as far as I'm concerned - and apparently was to at least four other people.
    – phantom42
    Apr 18, 2015 at 6:05
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    @Richard Your edit pulled out the part that actually was on topic: what was the radius of the ranger?
    – phantom42
    Apr 18, 2015 at 6:09
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    And yet you leave in the question: What was the G-Force that the crew encountered and was this a realistic amount? Whatever.
    – phantom42
    Apr 18, 2015 at 6:15

1 Answer 1


Assuming the Ranger is 5 metres across the beam (based on a rough visual comparison with the size of the Endurance which we know to be 64 metres in diameter), the G-forces the crew would encounter at 70RPM are around 5G, high but within the tolerances of a trained NASA pilot.

The official novelisation concurs that whilst it wasn't pleasant, it was at least survivable...

He felt the retros fire, and the lander started to spin, picking up speed quickly as both ships streaked toward the waiting ice below. The g-forces increased, as well, pushing them against their restraints, trying to crush them. Cooper felt the blood rushing away from his head, and struggled to remain conscious.

They weren’t falling cleanly anymore. The atmosphere was pushing back, and hard, bouncing and yawing the tiny ship. Mann’s planet seemed to be everywhere, and the curve of its horizon was fast straightening out.

He saw Tars open the airlock. The Endurance was still spinning relative to them, but slowly, as they neared matching the rpm. After several heart-stopping moments they lined up, and Tars fired the grapple—but they hit an air pocket—the hatches went out of line and the grapple caught nothing.

He glanced over, saw Brand had passed out, and knew he wasn’t far behind her. He fastened his eyes on his instruments rather than the wild whirling vista of Mann’s planet that was moving into and out of view. He tried to hold on.

  • Given the location of the cockpit and configuration of the craft, remember that these were likely negative g's and the human body has less tolerance for these than positive g's.
    – Jim2B
    May 31, 2015 at 4:12

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