Help Needed: Calculating Impulse on a Satellite

In summary, the conversation discusses a satellite being struck by an unknown object causing it to change its path. The task is to find the impulse that acted on the satellite, given its mass, initial velocity, and the time it took to change direction. The solution involves using the pythagorean theorem and arctan to calculate the magnitude and angle of the net impulse.
  • #1
I don't know whether I got this right, but something seems strange about my answers. Teacher didnt help much :(

A satellite of mass 2.40 x 10^2 kg moving in free space at a velocity of 6.00 x 10^3 ms^-1 is struck by an unknown object that causes it to be deflected onto a new path at right angles to its original direction of motion in 0.500s

Find the impule that acted upon the satellite if it continued to move at 6.00 x 10^3 ms^-1 after deflection

any help would be much appreciated :)
Physics news on
  • #2
Choosing the x-direction opposite to the original movement of the spaceship, and the y-direction perpendicular, along the x-direction the object decelerates from v_0 to rest, and along the y-direction it accelerates from rest to the final speed. Then you can apply the pythagorean theorem for the magnitude of the net impulse and arctan for the angle.
  • #3

First of all, don't worry if your answer seems strange or if your teacher wasn't able to help much. Calculating impulse can be a tricky concept, but with some practice and understanding, you can definitely get it right.

To calculate impulse, we use the formula: Impulse = Force x Time. In this case, we don't know the force, but we do know the mass and the change in velocity (from 6.00 x 10^3 ms^-1 to 0 ms^-1). We can use the equation for momentum, which is mass x velocity, to find the initial momentum of the satellite before the collision. This momentum will be equal to the impulse acting on the satellite, as there are no external forces acting on it.

Initial momentum = (2.40 x 10^2 kg)(6.00 x 10^3 ms^-1) = 1.44 x 10^6 kgms^-1

Since the satellite continues to move at 6.00 x 10^3 ms^-1 after the collision, its final momentum will also be 1.44 x 10^6 kgms^-1. This means that the change in momentum, and therefore the impulse, is 0. We can confirm this by plugging in the values into the impulse formula:

Impulse = (1.44 x 10^6 kgms^-1)(0.500s) = 0 Ns

So, even though it may seem strange, your answer is correct! The impulse acting on the satellite is 0 Ns. This makes sense, as the satellite's velocity did not change after the collision. I hope this helps clarify any confusion and gives you a better understanding of calculating impulse. Keep practicing and don't hesitate to ask for help if needed. Good luck!

1) How is impulse calculated on a satellite?

Impulse is calculated by multiplying the average force acting on the satellite by the amount of time that force is applied. This can be expressed as the equation Impulse = Force x Time.

2) What units are used to measure impulse?

Impulse is typically measured in Newton-seconds (N-s) or kilogram-meters per second (kg-m/s).

3) How does the mass of the satellite affect the impulse calculation?

According to Newton's Second Law of Motion, the greater the mass of an object, the more force is needed to change its motion. Therefore, a larger satellite would require a greater force and thus a larger impulse to change its velocity.

4) Can the angle of the force affect the impulse on a satellite?

Yes, the angle of the force can affect the impulse on a satellite. The impulse will be greatest when the force is applied in the same direction as the satellite's motion, and will be smallest when the force is applied perpendicular to the satellite's motion.

5) How is the impulse on a satellite related to its orbit?

The impulse on a satellite affects its velocity, which in turn affects its orbit. If the impulse is applied in the direction of the satellite's motion, it will increase the satellite's speed and cause it to move into a higher orbit. If the impulse is applied opposite the satellite's motion, it will decrease its speed and cause it to move into a lower orbit.

Suggested for: Help Needed: Calculating Impulse on a Satellite