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Homework Help: Zero accerlation for spacewalking astronaut and sattelite?

  1. Nov 22, 2009 #1
    1. An 8- kg spacewalking astronaut pushes off a 640 kg satellite, exerting 100N force for the 0.5s it takes to straighten his arms. How far apart are they after 1 minute?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. So, I calculated the the accelration of the spaceman and the satelite during contact. My school has the solutions of the problems posted ( its an old assignment), and what I dont understand is that they calculate the accerlation and also the final velocities but then they go on to calculate the distance after contact with 0 accerlation. I dont understand why they take the accerlation after the contact to be 0. Sorry if it sounds like a stupid question
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2009 #2


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    Homework Helper

    Welcome to PF, Bada.
    While his hand is pushing on the spacecraft the spacecraft pushes back on his hand according to Newton's 3rd law. This force causes him to accelerate. After his hand loses contact, there is no pushing, no force on the astronaut so he doesn't accelerate.
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