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Astronaut's Kinetic Energy inside shuttle at liftoff

  1. Jun 27, 2009 #1
    I'm writing a report on the principles of physics and their application to the design of the astronaut space suit helmet. I have to discuss various factors that must be accounted for when designing it, and also, how it protects the astronaut during liftoff and landing.

    My question is a really simple question, but I can't remember what the answer is;

    When the space shuttle is lifting off, its acceleration is obviously high, which means that its kinetic energy is also high;

    [tex]\vec{v}[/tex] = [tex]\vec{a}[/tex][tex]\Delta[/tex]t

    EK = [tex]\frac{1}{2}[/tex]mv2

    does this mean that the kinetic energy of the astronauts inside the shuttle is also high? And if so, does this high kinetic energy have anything to do with body heat?

    Thanks a lot guys.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2009 #2

    D H

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    Kinetic energy is a function of velocity, not acceleration. The kinetic energy of an astronaut at the moment the shuttle takes off is exactly equal to that of a spectator on the ground watching the shuttle take off: Zero. (Relative to the Earth that is; since velocity is relative so is kinetic energy.)
  4. Jun 27, 2009 #3


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    Why do you say that the shuttle's acceleration is high? It isn't; at take-off, it's actually slightly less than the acceleration due to gravity.
  5. Jun 28, 2009 #4
    Sorry I don't actually mean at the second the suttle lifts off, but what about during lift off, as its displacement is increasing. Or, what about when the shuttle passes through Earth's atmosphere?
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