Space > A Successful Rocket Launch

**Many factors have to be taken
into account to achieve a successful rocket launch, maintain a stable orbit and return to Earth**

**Students learn to:**

- describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components
- describe Galileo’s analysis of projectile motion
- explain the concept of escape velocity in terms of the:
- outline Newton’s 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 Earth‘s 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:
- analyse the forces involved in uniform circular motion for a range of objects, including satellites orbiting the Earth
- compare qualitatively low Earth and geo-stationary orbits
- 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 Kepler’s Law of Periods
- account for the orbital decay of satellites in low Earth orbit
- discuss issues associated with safe re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere and landing on the Earth’s surface
- identify that there is an optimum angle for safe re-entry for a manned spacecraft into the Earth’s atmosphere and the consequences of failing to achieve this angle

**Students:**

- solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using:
- 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
- identify data sources, gather, analyse and present information on the contribution of one of the following to the development of space exploration: Tsiolkovsky, Oberth, Goddard, Esnault-Pelterie, O’Neill or von Braun
- solve problems and analyse information to calculate the centripetal force acting on a satellite undergoing uniform circular motion about the Earth using:
- solve problems and analyse information using:

Extract from *Physics Stage 6 Syllabus (Amended October 2002)*. © 2009, Board of Studies NSW.