Examining the physics behind a Space Shuttle launch. View larger

The Physics of Spaceflight DVD, Part 3

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Part 3 of the Physics of Space Flight Series covers Gravity.

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  • 30 minutes

    The Physics of Space Flight Series is a three-part video program which presents physics principles as they apply to space flight and space related events. The program’s photography was provided entirely by NASA, affording a great deal of spectacular footage accompanying the physics principles being illustrated. Computer animation and the use of graphics also assist in presenting physical concepts. The program was designed for use by high school physics classes and introductory level college physics courses.

    Part 3: Gravity: A Broadened View: Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, Gravitational Acceleration, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Fluid Mechanics

    This program centres on presenting a broadened perspective of gravity, with emphasis given to observing its influence in different environments. Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation is used to determine the magnitude of the earth’s gravitational force at increasingly distant locations from its centre; computer graphics are used to simulate pulling away from the earth with the inverse square curve graphically being developed. The micro-gravity environment is examined in terms of its effect on various physical properties and the unique mechanics it presents to orbiting space structures. Gravitational acceleration on the surface of the moon is contrasted to that of earth by observing experiments and events which took place during the moon walks of the Apollo Program. Finally, an examination of the Gravity Assist Principle, or “Slingshot Effect”, provides an intriguing example of utilizing gravitational forces to greatly accelerate spacecraft on their journey to the outer solar system.