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Algebra in Space AFTER

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01/31/2011

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Algebra in the Real World Lab

Algebra in Space: The Mathematics of Launching the Space Shuttle

Algebra I

During this ascent.gov/pdf/264012main_Algebra_Stu_Shuttle. Booster Release 120km Liftoff This happens because as it ascends it burns a 50km -8m huge amount of fuel and eventually releases its solid rocket boosters (at an altitude of 50km) and external tank (at an altitude of 120km). the shuttle’s Solid Rocket Release mass decreases significantly during its ascent. the amount of propellant that will be used.pdf . In order to ensure safety. Modified from http://www. the shuttle could either be damaged or run out of propellant before reaching orbit. This data is then put into a table to illustrate what happens at each second of the launch and ascent into space. scientists must determine when throttle should be decreased in order to avoid reaching a dynamic pressure great enough to damage the shuttle (known as critical Q) and when it should be increased again once the shuttle reaches a point where the atmosphere is thin enough to eliminate the dangers of reaching critical Q. ACTIVITY Below is the projected data compiled Space Shuttle Discovery’s launch from the Kennedy External Space Center for mission STS-121 on July 4. and the mass of the payload being carried by the shuttle.000mph) in order to reach orbit.Algebra in the Real World Lab ALGEBRA IN SPACE THE MATHEMATICS OF LAUNCHING THE SPACE SHUTTLE BACKGROUND Safety is a priority in space exploration and math plays a big part in making sure a space shuttle launches and returns to Earth safely. As you can see in the data.nasa. Prior to each shuttle launch. the shuttle must accelerate from 0 to 800m/s (approximately 18. which takes only 8. NASA scientists compile data which includes the shuttle’s mass. Use the data to answer the same questions that NASA scientists do to help them make sure the shuttle reaches orbit safely. The ascent of a space shuttle takes place from the point of liftoff until the shuttle reaches orbit. Tank 2006.5 minutes. If scientists are unable to determine these points.

244 2. 4. Make a scatter plot of mass vs. 6.872 25.177. Find the equation of this line.726 1.475. time? Modified from http://www.nasa.282 1.380 19.309 44.Algebra in the Real World Lab Time (s) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 Ascent Data Space Shuttle Mass (kg) 2.290 1. negative. 3.611 1. What is the slope of the line? 5.301 1. constant.921 1.pdf .608 31.567. What is the correlation of the data (positive.gov/pdf/264012main_Algebra_Stu_Shuttle. Draw a line of best fit on your graph.376.935. time.377 Altitude (m) -8 241 1. What kind of function do you think would best describe the graph of altitude vs.683 991.075. time.113 1. Now. create a scatter plot of altitude vs. or no correlation)? 2.872 5.051.412 38.704 1.872 913.617 15.681.155 1.377 8.799.254 880.120 1.277.130 11.

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