The Physics
Opus in profectus

Frames of Reference

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  1. Elevator problem.
  2. Write something else.
  3. Write something different.
  4. Write something completely different.


  1. Is the frame of reference acceleration greater than, less than, or equal to normal Earth gravity on the space shuttle as it…
    1. ascends to orbit
    2. orbits
    3. reenters the Earth's atmosphere


  1. NASA has two ground-based facilities for studying the effects of apparent weightlessness — the above ground 2.2 Second Drop Tower and the subterranean 5 Second Drop Tower (a.k.a. the Zero-Gravity Research Facility). Both are located near Cleveland, Ohio and are associated with NASA's Glenn Research Center. Both are long vertical rooms where experiment packages are dropped in a minimal air resistance environment, briefly simulating weightlessness. The table below gives two key characteristics for each drop tower. Using this information and your knowledge of physics, determine the other remaining characteristics and complete the table.
    NASA drop towers
    characteristic 2.2 s drop tower 5 s drop tower
    overall length (m)
    free fall duration (s) 5.18
    free fall distance (m) 24.1
    impact velocity (m/s)
    deceleration duration (s) 0.2
    deceleration distance (m)
    impact deceleration (m/s2)
    impact frame of reference (g) 35