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Teacher's Desk

Shuttle Aeronautics

  • Fact Sheet
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  • Glide Slope
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    Cmdr Collins

    drawing of shuttle launching

  • Student Mathematics Activity: Glide Slope

    Teacher Overview Outline

    1. Introduction
    2. Classroom Activity
      • Session 1
      • Session 2
      • Session 3
      • Session 4
      • Session 5
      • Session 6
      • Session 7
    3. Student Handouts


    This activity is designed to introduce students to the concept of glide slope, which is the angle that the U.S. Space Shuttle orbiter approaches for landing upon return from space orbit. This five to seven session activity is appropriate for students in grades 4-8. The lesson consists of a hands-on math activity with worksheets and photos depicting the experiment process.

    Grade Levels: 4 - 8

    Example #1

    Glide slope angle can be determined when the orbiter's nose is pointing down.

    diagram of slope angle with orbiter nose down

    Example #2

    Here is an example of the glide slope angle when the orbiter's nose is pointing up.

    The measurements shown are possible dimensions for the U.S. Space Shuttle orbiter when it approaches for landing.

    diagram of slope angle with orbiter nose up

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