Midterm Study Guide
The midterm will be in class on May 2nd.
The following are some topics/concepts that are important to the course.
- Trace the early evolution of solid fuel rockets, their use and why their
development stopped after the Civil War.
- Contrast Aristotles idea of motion with Newtons
- How does Galileo define velocity, force and inertia
- What are Kepler's laws of orbits (don't just memorize them, understand what
they mean)? How do they apply to orbital satellites and ballistic missiles?
To increase your orbital radius, do you need to move faster or slower? Why?
- What is Newton's law of gravity? What is the behavior of gravity with mass
and distance? How is one `weightless' in orbit if still under the influence
- What are the basic principles to rocket flight? What are thrust, impulse
- What are the basic components to a rocket engine? What are the benefits and
disadvantages of liquid fuels compared to solid fuels.
- Discuss the contributions of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Robert Goddard and
Hermann Oberth in terms of laying down the ideas used by modern rocket
- What were the specific developments by the V-2 program that differ it from
previous rocket research.
- What particular problems are found at high speeds near the speed of sound,
both human and mechanical. How did the X-plane program solve these issues?
- What was the goals of the X-15 program?
- How is the edge of space defined by various criteria?
- What is an orbit? What are the basic parameters of an orbit? What are the
various uses for low, medium and high Earth orbit? How do we get to other
- Describe the goals and accomplishments of the early US rocket program.
- Describe the goals and accomplishments of the early Soviet rocket program.
- Describe the decision process into selecting Cape Canaveral as the US spaceport.
- Describe the Sputnik program, its goals and mission. What was the impact of
the Sputnik launch on the US.
- Describe the early US orbital program, its failures and accomplishments.
- What are the benefits to an object in orbit? i.e. what are the uses of Earth orbit spacecraft
- Explain why reentry is the main technological limitation to manned space flight.
- Describe the Mercury program, what were its goals, how did it differ from the Vostok program.
- What was the Corona program?
- Describe the first active and passive communication satellites.
- Describe the first weather satellites.
- What were the goals of the Gemini program.
- Describe the Mariner program, what planets did it visit, what were its major discoveries.
- Describe the Pioneer program, what planets did it visit, what were its major discoveries.
- What were the goals of the US lunar program (Ranger, Orbiter, Surveyor).
- What were the Soviet interplanetary programs in the 1960's, what were their goals and successes.