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written by Anne Cox
content provider: Wolfgang Christian and Mario Belloni
This item is a set of animations that illustrate Newton's First Law, thrust, and conservation of momentum.  A space telescope is traveling horizontally with a constant velocity.  Students can observe inertia in motion as they engage any combination of four engines that exert constant forces on the object.  Engine A exerts a force in the -x direction, B in the +y direction, C in the +x direction, and D in the -y direction.  Registered teacher-users may edit and/or create their own text for specific student groups.

This resource is part of OSP, the Open Source Physics project, developed to promote concept building and allow students to explore physical systems that would otherwise be inaccessible.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Linear Momentum
= Rockets
- Newton's First Law
= Inertia in Motion
- High School
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Access Rights:
Free access
© 2003 William F. Junkin III and Anne Cox.
Resources are freely available for educational, non-commercial use.
Law of Inertia, Newton's First Law, Physlet, acceleration, animation, applet, conservation of momentum, forces, inertia, interactive question, java, momentum, thrust
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created January 12, 2009 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
March 17, 2014 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 31, 2007

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. (6-8)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Cause and Effect (K-12)
  • Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems. (6-8)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
  • 9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Dynamics: Forces and Motion
Unit Title: Newton's First Law & Inertia

Excellent resource for students to explore inertia in motion, as they engage any combination of four engines that exert forward or reverse thrust on a space telescope traveling at constant velocity.  Part of the Open Source Physics project.

Link to Unit:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
A. Cox, (2003), WWW Document, (http://bq.bqlearning.org/physlet/ospdb/ospSearch.php?instructor_id=&nsession_id=&physlet_id=272).
A. Cox, BQ Learning: Space Telescope: Rockets Firing, (2003), <http://bq.bqlearning.org/physlet/ospdb/ospSearch.php?instructor_id=&nsession_id=&physlet_id=272>.
APA Format
Cox, A. (2007, July 31). BQ Learning: Space Telescope: Rockets Firing. Retrieved October 24, 2017, from http://bq.bqlearning.org/physlet/ospdb/ospSearch.php?instructor_id=&nsession_id=&physlet_id=272
Chicago Format
Cox, Anne. BQ Learning: Space Telescope: Rockets Firing. July 31, 2007. http://bq.bqlearning.org/physlet/ospdb/ospSearch.php?instructor_id=&nsession_id=&physlet_id=272 (accessed 24 October 2017).
MLA Format
Cox, Anne. BQ Learning: Space Telescope: Rockets Firing. 2003. 31 July 2007. 24 Oct. 2017 <http://bq.bqlearning.org/physlet/ospdb/ospSearch.php?instructor_id=&nsession_id=&physlet_id=272>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Anne Cox", Title = {BQ Learning: Space Telescope: Rockets Firing}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {24 October 2017}, Month = {July 31, 2007}, Year = {2003} }
Refer Export Format

%A Anne Cox
%T BQ Learning: Space Telescope: Rockets Firing
%D July 31, 2007
%U http://bq.bqlearning.org/physlet/ospdb/ospSearch.php?instructor_id=&nsession_id=&physlet_id=272
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Cox, Anne
%D July 31, 2007
%T BQ Learning: Space Telescope: Rockets Firing
%V 2017
%N 24 October 2017
%8 July 31, 2007
%9 application/java
%U http://bq.bqlearning.org/physlet/ospdb/ospSearch.php?instructor_id=&nsession_id=&physlet_id=272

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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