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HSC Physics Space II TALENT 100

CHECKPOINT
By the end of the lesson, students should be able to:

Launching a Rocket
 Explain the concept of escape velocity in terms of the:

o gravitational constant
o mass and radius of the planet

 Outline Newtons concept of escape velocity


 Identify why the term g forces is used to explain the forces acting on an astronaut during
launch
 Discuss the effect of the Earths orbital motion and its rotational motion on the launch of a
rocket
 Analyse the changing acceleration of a rocket during launch in terms of the:

o Law of Conservation of Momentum


o forces experienced by astronauts

Issues in Orbit
 Analyse the forces involved in uniform circular motion for a range of objects, including satellites
orbiting the Earth
 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the centripetal force acting on a satellite

undergoing uniform circular motion about the Earth using: =

 Define the term orbital velocity and the quantitative and qualitative relationship between orbital
velocity, the gravitational constant, mass of the central body, mass of the satellite and the radius
of the orbit using Keplers Law of Periods

Practicals and Research


 Perform a first-hand investigation, gather information and analyse data to calculate initial and
final velocity, maximum height reached, range and time of flight of a projectile for a range of
situations by using simulations, data loggers and computer analysis

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REVIEW OF LAST WEEK


GRAVITY AND GRAVITATIONAL FIELDS
Newtons Law of Gravitation states that a force of attraction exists between any two objects of
mass and , separated by a distance, , of magnitude:

On the surface of the Earth, where gravity is taken to be 9.8, we can simply say that =.
The region of influence in which one object experience the force of gravity due to another object

is known as a .

FACTORS AFFECTING THE EARTHS GRAVITY


The strength of the Earths Gravitational field depends on four main factors:

Composition, structure and density of the lithosphere. The surface of the Earth is uneven and

gravity will be over the denser parts

Altitude. The higher the object is, the the force of gravity

Spin of the Earth. The Earths motion around its axes causes a centrifuge

like effect, reducing the effective value of , and this phenomena makes gravity the

at the equator.

Ellipsoid Shape. The Earth is not a perfect sphere, but is . at the poles, and

hence the value of there.

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GRAVITATIONAL POTENTIAL ENERGY


GPE can defined as the .


Mathematically, it is defined as: =

Maximum GPE occurs at an distance away from the centre of a planet.

However, the maximum value is . This means that GPE works on a

Be careful in considering the sign, rather than simply the magnitude of GPE in considering where
GPE is greatest.

PROJECTILE MOTION
In projectile motion, the horizontal and vertical motion can be considered

and

Vertically, the acceleration is .. at 9.8 , whilst horizontally the acceleration is

, i.e. is constant .This causes the trajectory of a projectile to .

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HSC Physics Space II TALENT 100

When we launch a rocket into space we must take into account many different factors to ensure a
successful launch, orbit and re-entry back into the Earths atmosphere. This week, we examine the
key issues in launching a rocket into space, and the physics behind spacecraft in orbit.

ESCAPE VELOCITY

The escape velocity is the


.
Escape Velocity

Symbol Quantity measured S.I. units

the universal gravitational constant (6.67 x 10-11) -

the mass of the planet we are escaping from kg

the radius of the planet we are escaping from m

Talent Tip: Note that the escape velocity of an object does not actually depend on the mass of that
object. It is only dependent on the mass and radius of the planet from which the object is escaping.

Question 1 (2 marks)

What is the escape velocity of Earth, given the mass of the earth is 6.0 10 and the radius of
the earth is 6.38 10 ?

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Question 2 (2 marks)

What is the escape velocity of the moon given the following information?

= 7.35 10

= 1.74 10

Question 3 (2 marks)

A planet is found to have an escape velocity of 13.3km/s. If the planets mass is 8.9 x 1024 kg, find the
planets radius to the nearest metre.

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HSC Physics Space II TALENT 100

NEWTONS CONCEPT OF ESCAPE VELOCITY


The concept of escape velocity was first thought of by Isaac Newton. He conducted a thought
experiment where he proposed launching a cannon ball from the top of a very tall mountain on the
Earth shown below.

Earth
Escape velocity

He thought that the faster the cannon ball was fired, the greater its range would be and the further
it would travel before falling to the Earth. A and B (on the diagram above) have been fired at such a
speed that the curvature of their path is greater than the curvature of the Earth and they ball back
down to the Earth. However, Newton thought that eventually there would be velocity at which the
projectile fell as the same rate as the curvature of the Earth. This would cause the projectile to go
into a circular orbit (C). If the velocity was increased further, the projectile would be thrust out even
further and an elliptical orbit (D) would result. Eventually, the velocity would be so great that the
projectile would not be able to curve back and form an ellipse. Therefore, it would escape the
gravitational field of the Earth and never return (E). There orbits are known as parabolic and
hyperbolic orbits.

Earth Hyperbolic Orbits

Various orbits
Circular orbit
about the Earth
Elliptical orbits

Parabolic orbit

Critical escape trajectory

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HSC Physics Space II TALENT 100

DERIVING THE FORMULA FOR ESCAPE VELOCITY


We can deduce a formula for escape velocity by considering the Law of Conservation of (Mechanical)
Energy. We wish to launch a rocket from the surface of the Earth, so that it has just the right initial
speed so that it will reach infinity. By considering the total mechanical energy of the rocket, we can
say:

+ = +
1
+ = 0 + 0
2
1
=
2

2
=

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HSC Physics Space II TALENT 100

LAUNCHING A ROCKET
USING THE EARTHS MOTION
When we launch a rocket, we must totally overcome the gravitational pull of the Earth and reach the
escape velocity. As we saw above, this escape velocity is very large and great amount of fuel is
required to reach the velocities required for space travel. Furthermore, as we add more fuel, the
weight of the rocket increases and even more full is required. Therefore, small changes in the
required velocity can have big impacts on the amount of fuel used and therefore, the cost of the
operation. That is why it is important that we used the rotational and orbital velocity of the Earth to
decrease the required velocity and thus decrease fuel consumption.

Using the rotational motion of the Earth

We can utilize the motion of the Earth about its axes when launching a rocket. Since the Earth has a
tangential velocity of 464m/s at the equator if we launch the rocket in an easterly direction (the
same direction as the rotation of the Earth) then we are giving it an initial velocity relative to the
sun. Therefore, when the rocket leaves the Earth, the rockets relative velocity to the Earth will add
to the initial velocity relative to the sun provided by Earths rotation to produce a greater net
velocity.

= .... + ....

Since the tangential velocity is greatest at the Equator, it is best to launch a rocket as close to the
Equator as possible to maximize the Earths rotational effects. A rockets use of the rotational
velocity of the Earth is shown below:

EARTH

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Using the orbital motion of the Earth

Just as we can use the rotational motion of the Earth we can also use its orbital motion as it rotates
around the sun. If we launch a rocket while the Earth is orbiting towards its desired heading then we
can give the rocket a greater velocity relative to the sun caused by the Earth orbiting the sun at 30
000m/s. This only occurs at certain times of the year called launch windows when the Earth is
orbiting in the correct direction. The way the rocket makes use of this orbital motion can be
represented by:

= .... + .....

In reality not all of the orbital motion of the Earth will be useful to the rocket but it is still useful in
aiding the rocket. If the rocket is launched at the right time in the right direction both the rotational
and orbital motion of the Earth can be used and maximum fuel efficiency can be achieved. The
ability for a rocket to use both of these is shown below:

SUN

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Question 4 (4 marks)

Explain how we can use the Earths existing motion to minimize fuel costs when launching a rocket
into space.

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HSC Physics Space II TALENT 100

G-FORCES
The term g-force is used to measure a persons apparent weight in terms of their actual weight. In
essence it compares the net force a person experiences compared to the force they experience from
gravity. For example, say a person is experiencing a force 3 times greater than his weight, then he is
said to be experiencing 3gs of force. This way of describing force has several advantages:

Since it gives force relative to the persons weight it is much easier to compare forces between
different people
Numerically it is simper and easier to use and interpret than the absolute force system

We can find the g-force on a body using the following equation:

G-force

G-Forces at Rocket Launch

The apparent weight of an astronaut at rocket launch is equal the force of the chair as it pushes up
against the astronaut, i.e. the Normal Reaction Force:

=
= +

=


=

+
=


=1+

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Therefore the g-force an astronaut experiences during a launch is given by the equation:

G-force during a Rocket Launch


= 1 +

Question 5 (2 marks)

A rocket is launched from the moon and after a particular time has an acceleration of 6.5/ . If
the gravitational acceleration on the moon is 1.6m/s2, find the g-force on an astronaut inside the
rocket

Question 6 (2 marks)

Find the g-force on an astronaut in a rocket with the same acceleration leaving the Earth which has a
gravitational acceleration of 9.8m/s2.

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HSC Physics Space II TALENT 100

Question 7 (3 marks)

Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 F1 Champion, rounds a corner of radius 50m, at a speed of 150km/h in a
605kg (including driver weight) Mercedes Mclaren MP4-23. If Lewis weighs 70kg, calculate the g-
force he experiences. [HINT: You cannot simply use the formula for the rocket. Instead, ask what is
the force the driver feels when rounding a corner?]

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HSC Physics Space II TALENT 100

LAW OF CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM


As we launch a rocket its acceleration is not constant but is always changing. As the rocket moves
through the Earths atmosphere the acceleration gets greater as he mass of the rocket decreases
while fuel is burnt.

When the rocket is standing still on the launch pad, the total momentum of the rocket and the fuel
gases inside it are zero. Therefore, by the law of conservation of momentum, once the rocket is
launched the total momentum of the gases and the rocket must still be zero. Therefore, as the gases
are forced out backwards at very high speeds, in order for momentum to be conserved, the rocket is
thrust forwards. This is represented diagrammatically:

Momentum of fuel Momentum of rocket

Since we know that the total momentum is equal to zero. Then:

=
+ = 0
=

The change in momentum of the rocket must be in the opposite direction as the change in
momentum of the gases. This explains why as he gases are forced out backwards, the rocket moves
forwards.

This also explains why the acceleration increases as the time the rocket burns fuel increases. If we
assume the gasses are being ejected at the same rate throughout the flight, then can be
considered constant. Hence, = ( )is also constant. As fuel is consumed, the
mass of the rocket decreases, which requires that the velocity of the rocket increases to obey the
law of conservation of momentum.

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HSC Physics Space II TALENT 100

FORCES EXPERIENCED BY ASTRONAUTS

Note: the peaks 2 and 5 show temporary engine shut-offs to limit the peaks that astronauts must
endure.

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Initially, before the rocket is launched, the acceleration is zero so the astronaut feels a g-force of 1.

As the rocket is launched, fuel is continually being expended and hence the mass of the rocket
decreases. Assuming that the fuel is expended at a constant rate (to produce a constant thrust) , the

rockets acceleration will increase since a =

and the mass is steadily decreasing. (Additionally, the

acceleration is increasing at an increasing rate, since the net force acting on the rocket is equal to
= . Since the mass is decreasing as the fuel is consumed, the net force acting on the
rocket increases. Hence increases at an increasing rate since whilst simultaneously)

Furthermore, since the human body safely withstand g-forces of 3.5-4g, the engine is cutoff before
nearing these limits, before resuming, leading to the sharp peaks.

Finally, as fuel from one entire tank is consumed, the tank the engine is shutoff momentarily whilst
the fuel tank is jettisoned to remove unnecessary weight, leading to a sudden loss of acceleration
representing by the cliffs. The acceleration drops to zero momentarily as the rocket is in free fall.

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Question 8 (9 marks)

A rocket has a mass of 500kg of which 80% is fuel. When the fuel burns at a steady rate it delivers
8000N of thrust. Find:

a) The initial acceleration of the rocket 2

b) The g-force on a 60kg astronaut at this stage 2

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c) The acceleration when half the fuel has been burnt 3

d) The g-force on a 70kg astronaut at this stage 2

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Question 9 (9 marks)

A rocket has a mass of 31 000kg including 24 000kg of fuel. If it develops a constant thrust of
360,000N then find:

a) The acceleration at liftoff 2

b) The theoretical maximum acceleration 3

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c) The g-force experienced by an astronaut under both conditions. 4

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SATELLITES IN ORBIT
UNIFORM CIRCULAR MOTION
In order to first understand satellite motion, it is essential that we understand uniform circular
motion, as satellites generally tend to orbit in circular paths.

An object that is travelling at a constant speed in a circular path is said to be undergoing uniform
circular motion. That object experiences a net force inwards known as the centripetal force.

Centripetal Force

Symbol Quantity measured S.I. units


Net centripetal force
Mass of the orbiting object
Linear or tangential velocity of the orbiting object
Distance between centre of gravity of the satellite and centre of
motion

The direction of the force is always directed towards the centre of motion.

Note also that the Centripetal Force is a net force, i.e. the vector sum of forces.


Since = , you should also realise that =

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The diagram below shows the forces acting on a satellite In this case the gravitational pull of the
Earth pulling the satellite back towards the centre of the Earth provides the centripetal force to keep
the satellite in orbit.

Question 10 (2 marks)

A F1 car weighing 605kg negotiates a curve of radius 40m at a speed of 150km/h. What is the
centripetal force acting on the car?

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Question 11 (4 marks)

Identify what force provides the centripetal force in the following situations:

Circular Motion Source of Centripetal Motion

Satellite Gravity

Car driving around a corner Friction

Rock whirling on a string Tension

Moving charge in a magnetic field Magnetic force

Talent Tip: Forces are vectors, so you must ALWAYS include the direction when specifying the
centripetal force. This is a common mistake.

Question 12 (4 marks)

A stone of mass 0.7kg is whirled at 2 revolutions per second on a 0.6m long string. The string will
break if its tension is more than 60N. What will happen to the string?

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Question 13 (3 marks)

A satellite is 35.83 10 above the Earths surface, and its mass is 2000kg. Its period is
8.62 10 . Find the centripetal force of this system (to the nearest Newton), given that the radius
of Earth is 6.38 10 .

Question 14 (3 marks)

A plane is flying at 70 with a radius of 4900. What is the centripetal acceleration of the
plane? If the plane weight 700 what is the centripetal force?

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Question 15 (2 marks)

What is the centripetal force of a 70kg student at Earths equator given that the tangential velocity is
464m/s.

Question 16 (3 marks)

A 600kg car rounds a bend with radius 50m at 17m/s. If the maximum friction the tires can provide is
half the weight force of the car. Find if the car will skid or make the bend.

Therefore, the car will skid

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ORBITAL VELOCITY
The orbital velocity of an object is its instantaneous tangential velocity, i.e. how fast the object is
travelling at the single instant in time.

The orbital velocity of an object in circular motion is its .

Orbital Velocity Formula

We know that for a satellite in orbit, it is Newtons Universal Force of Gravitation that provides the
centripetal force:

=

=


=

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Question 17 (2 marks)

The orbital velocity of a satellite of mass 200kg around a planet is 1000ms-1. The satellite is 10000km
from the planets centre. What is the mass of the planet to 2 significant figures, without using the
orbital velocity formula?

Question 18 (2 marks)

The orbital velocity of a satellite of mass 350kg is 350m/s. If the satellite is 7000km from the centre
of the mass it orbits, find its mass.

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PRACTICAL
PROJECTILES USING COMPUTER ANALYSIS
Aim: To find the initial and final velocity, maximum height reached, range, and time of flight of a
projectile.

Method

1. A video camera was set up in front of a ball.


2. The ball was thrown from the ground level at 3 different angles. The video camera captured the
whole motion.
3. The time of flight was recorded using a stopwatch, as well as range. Range was found by
measuring the distance between the projection point and the landing point using a metre ruler.
4. The video was then analysed on a computer, and the initial angle of projection was found.
5. Calculations were done to find initial and final velocity and maximum height reached.

Diagram

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Results

Angle of Projection (degrees) Time of Flight (seconds) Range (metres)


Projectile 1 23 0.42 1.81
Projectile 2 48 0.82 2.70
Projectile 3 62 0.86 1.80

Calculations

For initial velocity:


= + , = 0
1
= = =
2 2

=
2

So, for Projectile 1,


(9.8)(0.42)
=
2 sin 23
= 5.27

For Projectile 2,
(9.8)(0.82)
=
2 sin 48
= 5.41

For Projectile 3,
(9.8)(0.86)
=
2 sin 62
= 4.77

For maximum height,


1
= +
2
1
, = , = sin
2
sin 1
= +
2 8
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So, for Projectile 1,


(5.27)(0.42) sin 23 1
= + (9.8)(0.42)
2 8
= 0.22

For Projectile 2,
(5.41)(0.82) sin 48 1
= + (9.8)(0.82)
2 8
= 0.82

For Projectile 3,
(4.77)(0.86) sin 62 1
= + (9.8)(0.86)
2 8
= 0.91

Talent Tip: Since we know that the projectile is symmetrical, its final speed is the same as initial
speed, except the angle is negative this time. (since it is coming DOWN):

For Projectile 1, final velocity is 5.27ms-1, at an angle of -23.

For Projectile 2, final velocity is 5.41ms-1, at an angle of -48.

For Projectile 3, final velocity is 4.77ms-1, at an angle of -62.

Angle of Time of Initial Max Final


Range
Projection Flight Velocity Height Velocity
(m)
(degrees) (seconds) (m/s) (m) (m/s)
Projectile 1 23 0.42 1.81 5.27, 23 0.22 5.27, -23
Projectile 2 48 0.82 2.70 5.41, 48 0.82 5.41, -48
Projectile 3 62 0.86 1.80 4.77, 62 0.91 4.77, -62

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Discussion

The italics in the graph indicate that the quantities were calculated, while the bold font shows
quantities that were measured.

Errors in the practical would have been:

Reaction time when timing projectile flight.


Inaccuracy of reading the camera to find angle of projection
Inaccuracy in the measuring of distance
Some improvements may be:

Instead of using a stopwatch to measure time, since the whole motion was captured, counting
frames and deducing time of flight would have been more accurate, as it would not have the
reaction time factor
Instead of launching the projectile at different velocities, we could have launched them all at the
same velocity, and then compared the differences caused by angle of projection which would
have been easier to distinguish.
To compare the calculated value of maximum height and range to what was measured. Range
could be calculated using only time of flight and angle of projection, and it could then be
compared to the measured value. Also, maximum height could be measured with a more
sophisticated set-up, and also can be compared to the calculated value. This would give us a
good idea of the accuracy of the experiment.

Conclusion

The experiment was successful, and initial and final velocity, range, maximum height reached and
time of flight were successfully measured or calculated.

PROJECTILES USING COMPUTER SIMULATION


The following website gives an excellent projectile simulation program:

http://www.walter-fendt.de/ph11e/projectile.htm

You can change the initial starting height, initial velocity and the initial angle of projection. It also
calculates range, maximum height reached and time of flight: all of this is asked in the syllabus; and
this information is clearly given in the website.

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