Calculating Needed Thrust for a Moon Landing

In summary, to decelerate the landing craft from its initial downwards velocity of 15 m/s to 0 m/s at a vertical distance of 160m above the Moon's surface, a net upward force of 8437.5N is required. This corresponds to an acceleration of -0.703125 m/s^2 due to the Moon's gravity being 1/6th of Earth's.
  • #1

Homework Statement

A landing craft of mass 12,000 kg prepares itself for a Moon landing. When at a
vertical distance 160m above the Moon’s surface it’s downwards velocity is 15 m/s.
A retrorocket is fired to give the craft an upward thrust to slow its speed to zero as it
meets the surface. Calculate the needed thrust to decelerate the craft its initial
downwards velocity to zero as it lands. The value for gravity on the Moon is g/6.
(Where g is 9.81m/s2).

Homework Equations


The Attempt at a Solution

Gravity =9.81/6

F (craft)= ma
=12 000. 1.635
Therefore the craft will need a a thrust of 19620 N upwards. Is that right or is that other information needed??
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  • #2
No that is not right. That upward thrust of 19620N merely counteracts the gravitational force acting on the landing craft. As such, there will be no net force on the craft, and it will continue moving downwards at a constant velocity of 15m/s.

In order to decelerate the craft, you are going to need a net upwards force acting on the craft. Based on the information in the question, what is the magnitude of the upward acceleration that the craft must undergo?
  • #3
ok...but i can't calculate an upward force without, Acceleration I am only given constant velocity?? which means there is no acceleration
  • #4
There has to be an acceleration for the craft's velocity to reduce to 0 m/s from 15 m/s. I think you should start by calculating the acceleration required to bring the craft's velocity down by 15 m/s in the given distance.
  • #5
ok i did that and got -0.703125 as acceleration

then i got a force of -8437.5 N

so the craft needs a downward force of 8437.5N to come to 0 m/s? is it downward or upward??

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