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A missle coliding witha satelite

  1. Jul 21, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data


    I typed it in word. Is this correct?
    Thanks
    Tal
    attachment.php?attachmentid=27074&d=1279734034.jpg
     

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  3. Jul 21, 2010 #2

    kuruman

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    Isn't the satellite moving in a circular orbit and the missile in the radial direction? It seems to me that their velocities are perpendicular to each other which means you have a collision in two dimensions.
     
  4. Jul 21, 2010 #3
    I agree but i don't see what that means.
     
  5. Jul 22, 2010 #4

    kuruman

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    It means that the sum of the two momentum vectors before the collision is equal to the single momentum vector after the collision. How do you two add vectors that are perpendicular to each other?
     
  6. Jul 22, 2010 #5
    Standard vector addition?
    I don't see how vectors are relevant though because all of my quantities are scalrs and not vectors.

    I solved this problem correctly previously using conservation of energy but I dont understand why momentum is wrong.
     
  7. Jul 22, 2010 #6

    kuruman

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    The initial momentum of the satellite is not in the same direction as the initial momentum of the missile. Therefore, to find the total initial momentum, you need to add the two as vectors. You need the total initial momentum to use in the momentum conservation equation.
    It is correct to use energy conservation after the collision is completed, however the solution will not be correct unless the velocity of of the composite mass immediately after the collision is calculated correctly.
     
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