Acceleration and Gravity

Acceleration: This simulation allows you to move about above ground (Y > 0) a 2 dimensional space (vacuum) in a ion propelled imaginary space ship. The Acceleration of gravity is .124 meters per second per second downward (-Y direction).  Type in the ship orientation ( force direction) and thrust duration (time, s = .5*a *t^2), and then click ENTER ... button.  This enters desired course and duration into the spaceship ion propulsion engine control computer. The computer uses the accelerometer sensor inputs to regulate thrust so as to maintain desired acceleration.  Engine burn does not begin and Time does not change until an Engine Control Button is clicked. The STOP ENGINE button advances time by an amount specified (Thrust Duration as entered) at zero thrust and zero fuel consumption.  During the stop engine period the spaceship will be in freefall, and it will continue to move under the influence of gravity (-.124 M/S/S ).

Start by launching the spaceship straight up (90 degrees) at full thrust for a period of 100 seconds and then press STOP Engine several times observing freefall motion of spaceship.  After the spaceship is well into its descent start using a combination of Engine burns( SLOW, Full Speed Ahead)  and Freefalls (STOP Engines) to land safely. A safe landing speed of 2 meters per second would be reasonable. You can set your goal (game rules) if you wish.  The game stops when Y<0 (Elevation goes negative. Practice landing with a minimum of fuel usage.  An alert message indicates ground impact.  


[FrontPage Save Results Component]

  Enter Ship Orientation(0 - 360 degrees)    Enter Thrust Duration (Integer 1- 120 seconds)

Speed (km/sec)      Course (degrees)

X (in km) = , Elevation (in km) 

 Time (in kilo-seconds)   
 Fuel Expended (in seconds of Full Power

Engine Control Buttons Below:

                                      Reenter course and burn duration after Reset

Note: Ship Orientation and Course are independent of each other.

Exercise: Launch Missile at 45 degrees for 100 seconds at Full Speed Ahead .  Then press STOP ENGINE  to advance time in freefall until ground is impacted.  Note path traveled.

Design your own game rules:  Time only advances when you click a button.  This gives you all the you need to make calculations as required to minimize Fuel consumption and landing velocity.  This might be a very good educational exercise, but it might not be much fun.  You might want time time it take to safely land with stop watch. Invent your own game.  Programming a calculator or building a chart to assist pilot in making a safe landing, would be both fun and educational.   Designate a 1 km interval anywhere along x axis as a landing zone and race against stop watch to get there using a limited amount of fuel.


Go To Trajectory

Back to Chapter 2

To See more like this Visit Our Physics Laboratory.