Higher School Certificate Physics Space Flight

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Topic 9.2 Space from the NSW Higher School Certificate Physics Course

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What Will I Learn?

- Define weight as the force on an object due to a gravitational field
- Perform an investigation and gather information to determine a value for acceleration due to gravity using pendulum motion and identify reason for possible variations from the value 9.8 ms-2
- Gather secondary information to predict the value of acceleration due to gravity on other planets
- Analyse information using the expression: F = mg to determine the weight force for a body on Earth and for the same body on other planets
- Explain that a change in gravitational potential energy is related to work done
- Define gravitational potential energy as the work done to move an object from a very large distance away to a point in a gravitational field
- Apply the Gravitational Potential Energy Formula.
- Be able to calculate and explain Gravitational Potential Energy
- Describe Galileo’s analysis of projectile motion
- Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components
- Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components.
- 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.
- Solve problems and analyse information using the orbital radius and velocity of a body in terms of the universal gravitational constant and the mass of the central body
- Explain the concept of escape velocity in terms of the: – gravitational constant – mass and radius of the planet
- 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: – Law of Conservation of Momentum – forces experienced by astronauts
- 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
- Describe a gravitational field in the region surrounding a massive object in terms of its effects on other masses in it
- Present information and use available evidence to discuss the factors affecting the strength of the gravitational force
- Define Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation.
- Discuss the importance of Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation in understanding and calculating the motion of satellites
- Identify that a slingshot effect can be provided by planets for space probes
- Describe and evaluate the Michelson- Morley attempt to measure the relative velocity of the Earth through the aether
- Discuss the role of the Michelson- Morley experiments in making determinations about competing theories
- Gather and process information to interpret the results of the Michelson- Morley experiment
- Outline the nature of inertial frames of reference
- Perform an investigation to help distinguish between non-inertial and inertial frames of reference
- Describe the significance of Einstein’s assumption of the constancy of the speed of light
- Identify that if c is constant then space and time become relative
- Analyse and interpret some of Einstein’s thought experiments involving mirrors and trains and discuss the relationship between thought and reality
- Discuss the concept that length standards are defined in terms of time in contrast to the original metre standard
- Explain qualitatively and quantitatively the consequence of special relativity in relation to: – the relativity of simultaneity – the equivalence between mass and energy – length contraction – time dilation – mass dilation
- Discuss the implications of mass increase, time dilation and length contraction for space travel
- Analyse information to discuss the relationship between theory and the evidence supporting it, using Einstein’s predictions based on relativity that were made many years before evidence was available to support it
- solve problems and analyse information using energy, time dilation, length contraction, and relativistic mass formulas

Requirements

- Ideally have completed Year 11 Physics or an equivalent introductory course.
- Have a basic understanding of scientific concepts such as velocity, acceleration, momentum, kinetic and potential energy.
- Have a basic understanding of algebra and trigonometry.
- Have an understanding of manipulating and solving equations.

Description

This course follows the New South Wales Higher School Certificate Physics syllabus, and is largely in syllabus order.

The Higher School Certificate Physics Syllabus can be downloaded from: http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_hsc/pdf_doc/physics-st6-syl.pdf

This course is intended to function as both a Physics course, which you can work through and complete, and a multimedia textbook, which you can use to aid in study of high school or college level Physics courses. It is also intended to be a reference, that you can use to check facts and investigate subjects, as you retain access to both current material and material added over time, just like buying a book.

The course has 52 video lectures, with printable materials covering the material in each lecture, and just like a normal text book you can access any lecture at any time, and as many times as you like. You can access video lectures on Android, i-Phone, PC, MAC and Linux devices. You can also print out text versions of the lectures, or access these electronically as PDF files. You can also ask questions of the instructor, and chat with your fellow students.

The course covers all dot points for the *Space* topic.

**Material currently covered.**

This course provides complete coverage of Space (9.2) topic from the New South Wales, Australia, Higher School Certificate Physics Syllabus. The course goes beyond the minimum requirements of the syllabus especially in terms of the history of ideas, explanation of key concepts, and derivation of equations where this may aid student understanding of the syllabus material. Past Higher School Certificate exam questions, as well as model answers to these published by the Board of Studies, have been extensively used to guide the writing of the course, and all worked examples used in the course are based on past Higher School Certificate Physics exam questions.

Space topics covered (Syllabus section 9.2): gravity, projectile motion, the motion of satellites, rockets and the conservation of momentum, launch of a rocket into space, re-entry to the Earth's atmosphere, and special relativity, as outlined in the New South Wales Higher School Certificate Physics Syllabus.

**Finally**

Please do not neglect to utilize fully the accompanying printable materials, which are detailed and extensive. These materials are in the form of PDF files, so can be accessed on a range of devices.

The course follows the New South Wales higher school certificate physics syllabus .

For high school students this course will assist you to perform better in the Higher School Certificate Physics exam, or any similar Physics course you are studying, assist Physics teachers by providing lesson ideas and content, and provide an introductory level understanding Physics for anyone interested in the subject.

You are encouraged to ask any questions about materials covered in the course, and answers will be provided in a timely fashion.

The course also contains the first section of the second HSC topic, *Motors and Generators. *If there is sufficient demand in the future this will be expanded into a separate course on electric motors, generators and transformers.

Who is the target audience?

- Students studying Physics for the New South Wales Higher School Certificate
- Teachers of Higher School Certificate Physics who wish to have access to a comprehensive set of resources.
- Anyone interested in the underlying Physics of Space and Space Flight.
- Please look through the lecture descriptions and previews.

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