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Free falling in outer space - Matt J. Carlson

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If you were to orbit the Earth, you’d experience the feeling of free fall, not unlike what your stomach feels before a big dive on a roller coaster. With a little help from Sir Isaac Newton, Matt J. Carlson explains the basic forces acting on an astronaut and why you probably shouldn't try this one at home.

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Dr. Carlson’s library of science videos includes his more detailed discussion of Free Fall.
NASA has a number of good web pages on satellites and their orbits including this one on types of orbits.
There are many physics web sites that describe the motion of satellites.
A few java applications where you can attempt to make a satellite orbit correctly:
1) http://lectureonline.cl.msu.edu/~mmp/kap7/orbiter/orbit.htm
2) http://www.phy.ntnu.edu.tw/ntnujava/index.php?topic=398
3) http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/k-12/rocket/corbit.html
The Angry Birds Space game can be used to demonstrate some orbits. Launch a bird slowly and it falls inwards, too hard and it flies out of orbit. Launch it just right and it goes around and around awhile.
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Putting objects into orbit is very expensive because not only do you have to raise the object into the air, but you typically have to lift up most of the fuel you plan to use as well.
07/02/2013 • 
 41 Responses
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