Parametric and parabolic equations
The C-9 jet is one of the tools utilized by NASA to simulate the gravity, or reduced gravity, that astronauts feel once they leave Earth. The C-9 jet flies a special parabolic pattern that creates several brief periods of reduced gravity. In this activity, students will study the flight pattern of NASA’s C-9 jet using their knowledge of pre-calculus and parametric equations.
Note: This activity requires the use of TI-Nspire™ technology to be used successfully.
Files for use with the TI-Nspire™
› Simulating Weightlessness TI-Nspire Educator Edition (PDF 324 KB)
› Simulating Weightlessness TI-Nspire Student Edition (PDF 238 KB)
Note: The following files are software specific file for Texas Instrument Nspire calculators.
› Simulating Weightlessness TI-Nspire Document (TNS 85 KB)
› Simulating Weightlessness TI-Nspire Solution Document (TNS 87 KB)
› VIDEO: NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunity (13:35 minutes)
- understand and write parametric equations that model the path of NASA’s C-9 jet;
- determine the distance and height of a projectile after t seconds;
- analyze given parameters to solve a real-life problem situation;
- find the maximum time and distance of one parabolic maneuver and interpret their significance; and
- use time as a parameter in parametric equations.