You are on page 1of 4

Height of a Zero Gravity Parabolic Flight Math 1010-036 Sara Coats Given:

Height of a Zero-G Flight t seconds after starting a parabolic flight path.

Time t in seconds Height h in feet

2 23645

20 32015

40 33715

Part 1:

Write your 3 by 3 system of equations for a, b, and c. f(x) = ax^2 + bx + c

1} (2, 23645) 2} (20, 32015) 3} (40, 33715)

a(2)^2 + b(2) + c = 23645 a(20)^2 + b(20) + c = 32015 a(40)^2 + b(40) + c = 33715

1} 2} 3}

4a + 2b + c = 23645 400a + 20b + c = 32015 1600a + 40b + c = 33715

Part 2:

Solve this system. Show your work.

Do this first.

Then do this.

{1} {2} {4}

- ( 4a + 2b + c = 23645) 400a + 20b + c = 32015 396a + 18b = 8370

{1} {3} {5}

- (4a + 2b + c = 23645) 1600a + 40b + c = 33715 1596a + 38b = 10070

Use {4} and {5} to find a.

Plug a into {4} to find b.

{4} {4} {5} 38(396a + 18b = 8370) -18(1596a + 38b = 10070) 15048a + 684b = 318060 -28728a 684b = -181260 -13680a = 136800 -13680 - 13680 a = -10

396(-10) + 18b = 8370 -3960 + 18b = 8370 +3960 +3960

18b = 12330 18 18 b = 685

Plug a and b into {1} to find c.

{1}

4(-10) + 2(685) + c = 23465 -40 + 1370 + c = 23645 1330 + c = 23645 -1330 -1330 C = 22315

Part 3: Use your solutions to the system from part 2


to form your quadratic model of the data.

use f(x) = ax^2 + bx +c -10(x)^2 + 685(x) + 22315

Part 4: Find the maximum value of the quadratic function.


Make sure to show your work.

Use x=-b/2a to find vertex of parabola. x=-685/2(-10) x = -685/-20 x = 34.25 Plug 34.25 into -10(x)^2 + 685(x) +22315 to get the maximum value. -10(34.25)^2 + 685(34.25) + 22315 -10(11730.625) + 23461.25 + 22315 -11730.625 + 23461.25 + 22315 34045.625 = maximum value

Part 5: Sketch the parabola. Label the given data plus the maximum point.

40000

34, 34045.625 40, 33715


30000

20, 32015
2, 23645

Height (ft)

20000

10000

0 0 10 20 30 Time (seconds) 40 50 60

Part 6: Reflective Writing.


This project reinforced my opinion that math is a necessary evil for many people. Pilots and engineers at NASA and the Russian Space Agency should be able to draw an accurate parabola outlining their zero gravity flights. They should also be able to calculate the maximum altitude and the time it takes to reach it. As I do not like to fly, and I have no desire to experience a zero gravity parabolic flight, I am happy to leave this type of math application to the professionals. It was very satisfying to complete this project, with some help from the learning center. I fear the only times I will be required to use this type of mathematical function will be when helping my children with their homework. It will be nice to not have to say, Go ask your father.