We Have Liftoff: Math and the Space Program (Grade Levels: 7-10)
We Have Liftoff
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October 29, 1998, John Glenn blasted off as a payload specialist
aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. This marked Glennís second voyage
into space: his first was on February 20, 1962, when Glenn, one of the
seven astronauts in the Mercury Program, piloted the United Statesí first
manned orbital mission aboard the Friendship 7. In these activities, you'll examine the
development of the United States manned space program by comparing information
about the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs.
Using the Manned
Space Program Data Sheet for information from selected flights from Mercury,
Gemini, Apollo, and the Space Shuttle, answer the following questions.
The Apollo mission with the Saturn V rocket had the
tallest launch vehicle because it was used to send three
men to the moon. How many times taller than the other
launch vehicles was Apollo?
For the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, the capsule
was the shape of a cone. The volume of a cone is 1/3
x (pi) x radius2 x height.
a) Calculate the volume of the Mercury capsule. This space
held the astronaut, his chair, and all of his equipment
Calculate the volume of the capsule for the Gemini mission..
Since there were two people, how much space was there
On the Apollo missions, the astronauts also brought
along an LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) for landing on
the moon. Consider just the Apollo capsule: what was
its volume? How much space was there per person?
How much space per person will there be on the Space
How many times longer should John Glennís Space Shuttle
mission be than his original Mercury mission?