Maths of Orbits

Back in February, Matt met astronaut Chris Hadfield at NASA and interviewed him about why mathematics is essential in keeping spacecraft in orbit. This set of resources includes the full notes and maths to accompany the video, and some activities for students.

Equipment needed

A calculator.

Curriculum Topics Covered

Orbital Mechanics: This document is the full notes and maths that accompanies the video. It’s accessible to KS5 and upper KS4. Topics include: Newton’s Laws, Vectors, Similar Triangles, Rates of Change.

International Space Station and How Long is a Mars Year – Upper KS3 to KS5. Skills needed: Using Standard Form, Using Formulae (re-arranging and substituting into), Circumference of a Circle, Unit Conversion, Relationship between Speed/Distance/Time.

More information

‘Orbital Mechanics’ is the full notes and maths to accompany the video. 

‘International Space Station’ and ‘How Long is a Mars Year’ are activities for students to accompany the video. If students are doing both, it makes sense to do International Space Station first. The solutions to these activities are in ‘Teacher Solutions’.