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Have you ever wondered what it might feel like to

float weightless in space? One way to try it out is to

fly on a special aircraft that astronauts use to train for

their trips to space. Both NASA and the Russian Space

Agency have been flying these for years. The way this

is accomplished is to fly to a high altitude, drop down

to gain speed, and then start a large parabolic path up

in the sky. For a time ranging from 10 to 20 seconds,

along the top part of the parabolic flight, an

environment simulating zero gravity is created within the plane. This effect can cause some nausea in

the participants, giving rise to the name Vomit Comet, the plane used by NASA for zero-G parabolic

training flights. Currently there is a private company that will sell you a zero-G ride, though it is a bit

expensive.

This lab will have you take a look at the parabolic path to try to determine the maximum altitude the

plane reaches. First, you will work with data given about the parabola to come up with a quadratic

model for the flight. Then you will work to find the maximum value of the model. Now for the data:

Time t in seconds

Height h in feet

Starting a Parabolic Flight Path

2

20

40

23645

32015

33715

To find the quadratic model, you will be plugging the data into the model

.

The data points given are just like x and y values, where the x value is the time t in seconds and

the y value is the altitude h in feet. Plug these into the model and you will get equations with a,

b and c.

Part 1: Write your 3 by 3 system of equations for a, b, and c.

H(2)=a(2)2+b(2)+c=4a+2b+c=23645

H(20)=a(20)2+b(20)+c=1600a+40b+c=32015

H(40)=a(40)^2+b(40)+c=1600a +40b+c=33175

4a+2b+c=23645

400a+20b+c=32015

1600a+40b+c=33715

1) 4a+2b+c=23645

-4a-2b

-4a-2b

C=23645-4a-2b

2) 400a+20b+(23645-4a-2b)=32015

400a-4a+20b-2b+23645=32015

-23645 -23645

396a+18b=8370

18

22a+b=465

-22a

-22a

B=465-22a

3)1600a+40(465-22a)+(23645-4a-2b)=33715

1600a+18600-40(22)a+23645-4a-2b=33715

1600a-800a-4a-2b+18600+23645=33715

716a-2b=33715-18600-23645

716a-2b=-8530

716a-2(465-22a)=-8530

716a-930+44a=8530

760a=-7600

760

A=-10

4) C=23645-4(-10)-2(685)

C=23645+40-1370

C=22315

Part 3: Using your solutions to the system from part 2 to form your quadratic model of the data.

H=at^2+bt+c

H(t)=-10t^2+685t+22315

T=-10t^2+685t+22315

(-b/2a, F(-b/2a)

-685/2(-10)= -685/-20=34.25

Part 4: Find the maximum value of the quadratic function. Make sure to show your work.

Max=-10(34.25)^2+685(34.25)+22315

-10(1173.0625)+23461.25+22315

-11730.625+23461.25+22315=34045.625

Part 5: Sketch the parabola. Label the given data plus the maximum point. A good way to start labeling

your axes is to have the lower left point be (0, 20000)

A)

B)

C)

D)

T=2s H=23645ft

T=20s H=33015ft

Max= T=34.25s H=34045.625ft

T=40 s H=33715

Did this project change the way you think about how math can be applied to the real world?

Write one paragraph stating what ideas changed and why. If this project did not change the

way you think, write how this project gave further evidence to support your existing opinion

about applying math. Be specific.

I see how it can apply to the real life situations, in certain work feilds that require this kind of

math knowledge in a day to day bases but i still have to say im not a big huge fan of math even

with getting why we need to know it.

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