Ballistic Flight

vCalc Reviewed
Calculator / Last modified by KurtHeckman on 2019/04/12 13:12
Max Range Max Height
Travel Time Velocity to Achieve Height
Position at Time Flight Parabolic Equation
Initial Horizontal Velocity Initial Vertical Velocity
g (acceleration due to gravity)

The Ballistic Flight Calculator contains the main equations for distance (range), altitude, flight time and velocity associated with ballistic flight excluding the force of drag.  The ballistic flight functions are:ballistics.png

The Math / Science

Ballistic flight operates on the premise that there is one primary force working on an object, and that is the force of gravity pulling the object toward the ground.  This downward force limits the time that an object can be in free flight.  Therefore the key calculation is to compute how long the object will be in the air based on the initial height and the vertical velocity.  Based on these two items, the rest of the computation can be made via trigonometry. 

Acceleration Due to gravity

The force of gravity pulls masses towards each other.  In the case of small objects (e.g. you, an arrow or the Space Shuttle) verses planetary objects (e.g. the Earth or Moon), the difference in masses result in a negligible acceleration of the large object toward the small and small object accelerating toward the center of mass of the large object.  Acceleration due to gravity changes based on the mass of the object (e.g. the Earth 9.8 m/s2 verses the moon1.6 m/s2) and the distance from the center of mass.  For example, since the Earth is not a perfect sphere, and more closely represented as an oblate spheroid, acceleration due to Earth gravity as Sea Level is more accurately calculated based on latitude: click here ->International Gravity Formula The international gravity formula provide an acceleration due to gravity based on latitude.  CLICK HERE for the acceleration due to gravity for the other planets in the solar system. 

See Also


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