Classroom Activity

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Key Topics: Vector addition

High accuracy radars at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center are used to track and relay the position of the International Space Station and other research vehicles. In this activity, students will use spherical coordinates and vector addition to find position coordinates of the space shuttle with respect to the Earth’s center and Dryden Flight Research Center.

Students will
  • transform spherical coordinates to Cartesian coordinates;
  • represent 3D vectors in terms of i, j, and k; and
  • perform vector addition operations.


› Space Vectors Educator Edition (PDF 259 KB)
› Space Vectors Student Edition (PDF 250 KB)

Required Media
› PDF: Spherical Coordinate Systems

Recommended Media
› DOWNLOAD: Google Earth